@HerdBaseball Routs FIU, 22-6
Coach Waggoner has won 250 games at the helm of the Thundering Herd
BECKLEY, W.Va. - The Marshall baseball team (19-19, 8-8 C-USA) rode its offense in a 22-6 rout of the FIU Panthers (23-16, 8-8 C-USA) in game one of its three game series at Linda K. Epling Stadium on Friday afternoon.
"Joshua Shapiro really came out and set the tone for us today," head coach Jeff Waggoner said. "He did a great job as a Friday night guy should. It's obviously good to come out and get the win on Friday night. Our offense did a really good job of staying in the zone and getting good pitches to hit. We did a great job with runners in scoring position. It was just good team baseball all around. Now we have to bring the same energy and intensity tomorrow to a good FIU team and win the series."
The Thundering Herd scored a season-high 22 runs on 22 hits, including six doubles, three triples and two home runs.
Leo Valenti had one of his best offensive performances of the season by going 5-for-6 with 3 RBIs. Valenti was a double shy of the cycle. The Olympia, Wash., native hit three singles, a triple and a home run.
Sam Finfer continued his strong season at the plate. The Bellevue, Wash., native was a triple away from the cycle, as he went 4-for-5 with two singles, a double and a home run. He drove in four runs and raised his batting average to .324.
Joshua Shapiro (2-4) started on the hill for the Herd. The sophomore southpaw pitched five innings with five strikeouts in the win. He allowed four runs in his ninth start of the season. FIU's starting pitcher Nick MacDonald (6-1) earned his first loss of the season. He allowed nine runs on nine hits. He had six earned runs.
Marshall scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first inning. Tyler Ratliff got things rolling with a double to right field. Shane Hanon followed with a single through the left side that drove in Ratliff.
FIU had a response in the following half inning. Shapiro walked a pair to put runners on first and second. The Panthers' Jack Schaaf hit a two-out double to left field, scoring Javier Valdes from second.
The Thundering Herd began the rout in the bottom of the third by scoring six runs on five hits. The inning began with consecutive singles from Ratliff and Finfer. Hanon loaded the bases by reaching on a fielding error by the FIU third baseman. Tommy Lane came to the plate and hit a two-run single through the right side of the infield. After Lane advanced on a wild pitch, Cory Garrastazu doubled down the right field line for two RBIs. Valenti cleared the bases with a two-out homer to left field.
Marshall added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, pushing its lead to 9-1. Ratliff led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a balk. Finfer capitalized with the runner in scoring position with a single to right field that scored Ratliff. Finfer went on to steal second and advanced to third on a Hanon groundout. Finfer scored, as the FIU pitcher was called for his second balk of the inning.
FIU cut its deficit to five in the top of the fifth by plating three runs. Kenny Meimerstorf hit a single to left field with runners on the corners, allowing Irving Lopez to score and Zack Soria to advance to third. In the next at-bat, Nick Day singled to the shortstop that scored Soria. Meimerstorf came around to score on a double steal, as he touched home before Adam Sevario was thrown out at second.
The Thundering Herd blew the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth by scoring 11 runs on seven hits. Marshall featured three doubles, two triples and one homer in the inning. Valenti led off with a triple to right center and came around to score on a Will Ray double to left center field. The doubles kept coming for the Herd as Finfer and Hanon each hit a RBI double. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Garrastazu singled up the middle to score Andrew Zban and Hanon. The Herd batted around, as Valenti hit into a fielder's choice and scored Lane from third. Ratliff cleared the bases with a triple to right field, scoring Ray, Valenti and Garrastazu. Finfer capped off the 11-run inning with a two-run homer to right field.
The teams went on to score a pair of runs each over the final four innings. FIU scored in the sixth with a Schaaf single to right field. The Panthers added its second run in the eighth on a Valenti throwing error.
Marshall grabbed its two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Tucker Linder hit into a ground out to the shortstop, but scored Hanon from third. Billy Sager drove in Garrastazu with an infield single.
Eight of nine Marshall starters recorded a hit, and five of nine had multiple hits. All nine starters reached base at least once. The Herd tallied its highest hit total of the season. Garrastazu and Finfer led the Herd with four RBIs, while Ratliff and Valenti each had three RBIs.
The Thundering Herd and FIU are set to play game two of the series on Saturday at Linda K. Epling Stadium at 4 p.m.