Baseball Wins Third Straight, Drops Eastern Kentucky 8-4
Rowley's 3-for-5 Day Highlighted by Two-Run Home Run
April 24, 2007
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Left fielder Jeff Rowley (Buffalo, N.Y.) went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and Andrew Blain (Huntington, W.Va.) pitched four innings of one-hit, shutout baseball in his first career start to lead the Marshall baseball team to its third straight victory with an 8-4 win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday at University Heights.
Marshall (17-21) led 7-0 after three innings en route to avenging a loss at Eastern Kentucky (16-20-1) last Tuesday in Richmond, Ky., to win its fifth straight home game against the Colonels.
Marshall wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, grabbing a quick 2-0 lead after a leadoff walk and a home run to center field by Rowley from the two spot. Rowley's third homer of 2007 extended his hitting streak to 11 games, tying Brandon Casamassima (Colleyville, Texas) for the team's season-high.
Casamassima continued his hot play at the plate, driving in two runs on a bases-loaded single in the third inning, the Herd shortstop's third plate appearance with the bases loaded in the last two games. He hit a first-inning grand slam on Sunday at Memphis and followed with a two-run single in the second against the Tigers.
Marshall was not done putting runs on the board in the third, thanks to a pair of two-out bloop singles. Reigning Conference USA Hitter of the Week Tommy Johnson (Gaithersburg, Md.) and third baseman Blake Sanders (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) each blooped a hit to right field. Johnson's came with the bases loaded for a pair of RBI, with Sanders scoring Josh Valle (Brentwood, N.Y.) on his base hit for a 7-0 Herd lead.
EKU head coach Elvis Dominguez pulled Colonel starting pitcher Jim Clancy after he surrendered five earned runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Freshman Chris Hord relieved Clancy in the bottom of the fourth.
Blain, making his first career start, pitched four innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts and a walk. The Herd's top left-handed reliever, Blain was pulled after the fourth with head coach Jeff Waggoner wanting to see more of his bullpen after his starters worked deep into each game of the weekend series at Memphis.
Eastern Kentucky got on the board in the top of the sixth with the help of a Marshall mental error. Reliever Tyler Gatrell (Ashland, Ky.) got the first two Colonels out and looked to have the third out in hand with a fly ball to left center, but Rowley and center fielder Nick Damas (Willow Springs, Ill.) mixed their signals and let the ball drop in between them for a double. Matt Davis followed with a single to plate Tony Wells, followed by a pinch-hit, two-run homer by Breck Norment.
EKU added another run in the frame on a Clint Seymour single to cut its deficit to 8-4.
Nick Wolle (Coatesville, Pa.) pitched the final two innings of the game in a non-save situation. He gave up two hits and struck out two Colonels. Gatrell (1-0) worked three innings and picked up his first career win, surrendering five hits with four earned runs and three strikeouts.
Valle went 2-for-3 to post his third straight game with multiple hits. Rowley recorded his fourth three-hit game of 2007 and added a pair of runs. Johnson and Casamassima recorded two RBI apiece.
No EKU player had multiple hits, a far cry from the Colonels' 19-hit outburst in the team's meeting last week, a Marshall opponent high this season. Five Colonels registered multiple hits in that contest.
Marshall will play a doubleheader on Wednesday in Athens, Ohio, against the Ohio Bobcats, beginning at 4 p.m.