Herd Baseball Hangs On for Thrilling 12-11 Victory Over No. 28 Houston|
April 27, 2007
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall baseball team won its third straight Conference USA game and its first ever game versus Houston with a thrilling 12-11 victory over the 28th-ranked Cougars on Friday at Appalachian Power Park, snapping UH's four-game winning streak.
The win, Marshall's first at night in 2007, was the Thundering Herd's first over a ranked team since claiming a two-game sweep over No. 25 James Madison last season in Huntington.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the first on a Dustin Kingsbury RBI single to left to score Ryan Lormand. After Houston made it 2-0 in the top of the second, Marshall answered with two runs to tie the game thanks to a pair of sacrifice flys. Brit Vincent (Bowling Green, Ky.) and Tommy Johnson (Gaithersburg, Md.) led off the inning with a single and double, respectively, then were knocked in on consecutive sacrifices by Blake Sanders (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) and Mason Chapman (Barboursville, W.Va.).
Marshall starter Brian Chrisman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) ran into trouble in the third inning, loading the bases with no outs. He struck out catcher Luis Flores, but surrendered a two-run single that marked the end of his night after 2 1/3 innings and UH leading 4-2.
Andrew Blain (Huntington, W.Va.) relieved the left-hander with runners on the corners and one out. He promptly picked off Bryan Pounds at first then struck out Zak Presley to get out of the threat with no additional damage.
The Herd posted five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-4 lead on the strength of six hits in the frame. Second baseman Josh Valle (Brentwood, N.Y.) hit his first career home run, a two-run shot, to highlight Marshall's offensive outburst.
With Marshall leading 7-6 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, right fielder Nate Lape (Huntington, N.Y.) hit a disputed solo shot to give the Herd a two-run cushion. Lape's towering shot hit off the top of the wall and was originally not ruled a home run. After minutes of arguments by both head coaches, home plate umpire Tim Henderson finally awarded Lape his third home run of 2007.
The Herd bats continued clicking in the seventh, plating four runs on four hits for a 12-6 advantage. Vincent and Johnson opened the frame with back-to-back singles, paving the way for a Sanders RBI single. A Chapman fielder's choice RBI scored Johnson, followed by Lape's third RBI of the contest on a single to right field. Nick Damas (Willow Springs, Ill.), who earlier entered the game for Jeff Rowley (Buffalo, N.Y.), executed a perfect sacrifice squeeze to score Chapman.
Rowley extended his team season-high hitting streak to 13 games in the bottom of the first with a flare to left field.
Houston got a run back in the top of the eighth to narrow its deficit to 12-7 on a two-out RBI double by Jimmy Cesario.
In the ninth, the Cougars loaded the bases on right-hander Andrew Hancock (Ashland, Ky.) with no outs. Presley laced a ball to right field to plate two Cougars for a 12-9 MU lead. The Herd coaching staff had seen enough, bringing in closer Nick Wolle (Coatesville, Pa.) with two runners aboard and no outs.
Wolle allowed two runs as UH closed to within one run, 12-11, with Cesario, C-USA's leading hitter, coming to the plate. With the go-ahead run aboard, Wolle induced a groundout to third base to close the game and pick up his MU single-season record seventh save of the season.
Johnson led the Herd with three hits (3-for-5), with Lape (2-for-3), Vincent (2-for-5) and Sanders (2-for-3) each picking up multiple hits.
Kingsbury collected four hits in the contest with two RBI. Brown (6-3) lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits with six earned runs. Blain (4-1) picked up the win after throwing 5 1/3 innings with six hits and two earned runs.
The lengthy affair lasted three hours and 40 minutes.
The Herd and Cougars will resume the series tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET.