April 30, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Gray Stafford led a 24-hit, five-homer team attack by launching two round trippers and knocking in six as the Marshall University team mashed its way past Memphis, 20-4 in and eight-inning 15-run decision in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at FedExPark.
Marshall (17-23, 4-10 C-USA) broke the FedExPark record for hits and a game with the 24 base knocks, and collected the most in a game since April 1, 2009, when the Thundering Herd roped 21 hits at then 18th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The Thundering Herd also launched the most homers in a game (5) ever under head coach Jeff Waggoner.
G.Stafford led 11 MU players that recorded at least one hit, as he finished 4-for-5 with four runs scored in addition to his four RBI and two bombs. His second long ball was a grand slam that took place in the fifth.
Steven Ross added a four-hit performance, while Victor Ramos (3-for-4, RBI), Isaac Ballou (2-for-4, two RBI), Rhett Stafford (2-for 6, three RBI), Eric Semeniuk (2-for-4, two RBI), Victor Gomez (2-for-2, four walks) and Thor Meeks (2-for-3, two RBI) added multiple hits to the MU box score of 24.
Ramos (solo), R.Stafford (two-run) and Meeks (two-run) were the other Herd members that went deep in the victory.
Behind the offensive onslaught from the MU bats, Mike Mason (2-3) fired the first seven innings giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits. The lefty walked three, struck out eight and didn’t allow the Tigers to cross home after the second inning. Jesse Fernandez pitched a scoreless eighth before the game was called due to the 15-run rule in the first end of the doubleheader.
A two-out bloop single to left from Phillip Chapman plated the first run of the game in top of the first for the Tigers. On the play a Herd miscue allowed another run to cross to hold an early 2-0 edge.
In the ensuing MU frame, Thor Meeks pounded an offering from Memphis lefty Ryan Holland (4-2) that wrapped around the foul pole to knot the score at two.
The evened tally on the scoreboard was short lived, as Adam McClain drew a full count against Herd hurler Mike Mason to start the bottom of the second and proceeded to connect for a solo blast. The Tigers added another run on a RBI double off the bat of C-USA leading hitter Chad Zurcher.
The scoring pendulum swayed again in the top of the third as the Green and White used the long ball to retake the lead. Leadoff hitter Victor Ramos recorded his first homer with Marshall, a solo shot, to start the stanza. Following a strikeout, Socorro laced a single in front of R.Stafford, who hit a colossal two-run dinger, his team leading sixth of the season to take a 5-4 advantage.
The lead expanded in the top of the fourth as home run derby for the Herd continued. Thor Meeks led off with a double and scored when G.Stafford hit a two-run bomb of his own.
The merry-go-round on the scoreboard continued into the fifth as MU put up a five-spot chasing Holland from the game. The visitors loaded the bases by walks from Victor Gomez and Meeks sandwiched around a double from Ross. Up next stepped G.Stafford, the Cheraw, S.C., native. The sophomore worked a full count off righty reliever Dane Sharp. On the pay-off-pitch the third baseman tattooed a bases clearing blast to dead center to take an 11-4 lead.
A three-run seventh and five-run eighth rounded out the scoring for Marshall.