April 23, 2006
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Marshall baseball team rode the strong pitching of Chris Koutsavlis (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) and the bat of Brendan Murphy (Jr., Chattanooga, Tenn.) to a 5-3 win Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game Conference USA series at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C. The pitchers' duel, completed in a slick one hour and 54 minutes, was a stark contrast to the previous two nights, when the two teams combined for 38 runs and 56 hits.
Koutsavlis (6-3) was sensational on the mound for Marshall, going the distance and allowing three runs and seven hits while striking out six. He retired the final 14 of the contest in firing his second straight Sunday complete game. The win also was the 18th career win for Koutsavlis, moving him into sole possession of second all-time at Marshall. He is now one win shy of tying the career record of 19, held by Grant Harper (2001-04) and Albie DeYoung (1975-78).
Murphy had the big bat of the day, as he hit a three-run home run and drove in four runs for the Thundering Herd.
Marshall (17-19, 5-10 C-USA) got to East Carolina starting pitcher Brody Taylor in the first inning for three runs on a two-out, three-run home run by Murphy, but the ECU lefthander responded by setting down the next 16 Marshall hitters before Roddy Stieger (Sr., West Chester, Ohio) singled to lead off the seventh inning. Taylor (5-2) fired a complete game, allowing five runs, four hits and two walks while striking out six.
East Carolina (27-15, 6-6) quickly got a run back in its half of the first, as Jay Mattox hit a solo home run to left field. The Pirates got another solo home run from Adam Witter in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2. The Pirates then tied the game in the fifth inning when Harrison Eldridge hit into a fielder's choice to score Stephen Batts.
Marshall took the lead back in the seventh inning. On the first two pitches of the inning, Stieger singled and Murphy doubled to give the Herd a 4-3 lead. After an Aaron Levinson (Sr., Seattle, Wash.) sacrifice bunt and a walk to Brit Vincent (Jr., Bowling Green, Ky.), Adam Ptacek (Sr., Assaria, Kan.) lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Murphy with the Herd's fifth run.
Marshall returns home at 3 p.m. Wednesday for its first game at University Heights Field since March 29 as it takes on Eastern Kentucky.