May 4, 2013
Box Score - Game One (PDF) | Box Score - Game Two (PDF)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One of the longest afternoons of the season saw Marshall's baseball team drop two Conference USA decisions to Memphis on Saturday at FedExPark.
Enduring a two-hour and 27-minute rain delay partway through the nightcap, Marshall (18-28, 5-12 C-USA) was beaten by scores of 1-0 and 9-6 as Memphis (29-19, 11-9 C-USA) won the series and will have a chance for the sweep when the series concludes Sunday at 2 p.m.
In game one, starting pitcher Aaron Blair threw a three-hitter over 8.1 innings but was dealt the loss when Memphis put an end to his shutout in the ninth.
Blair's final frame featured a one-out walk followed by a double that put runners on second and third. With the winning run standing 90 feet from the plate, Marshall chose to intentionally walk cleanup hitter Tucker Tubbs, but when Blair's toss toward home plate sailed over the mitt of Matt Kirkwood and landed at the backstop, Memphis' winning run scampered home.
Isaac Ballou finished 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a stolen base, but Marshall's offense struggled with only five hits. Ballou made it into scoring position twice, including reaching second with one out in the top of the ninth, but Marshall was a dismal 1-for-7 with runners on base and 0-for-3 with a man in scoring position. The failure to manufacture runs proved to be Blair's demise as he suffered the loss for the third time in his last four starts despite throwing quality starts in each.
Blair (5-4) struck out eight and walked four in his second straight eight-plus-inning start. The junior's counterpart, Erik Shoenrock (6-3), ended up with a complete-game shutout victory where he gave up five hits while fanning nine.
In game two, Marshall struck first with a run in the top of the first inning, but Memphis put two across in the bottom half followed by three-spots in the fifth and sixth. The rain delay took place partway through the fifth inning, only minutes after a Memphis three-run homer made the score 6-2.
Marshall trailed 9-3 entering the ninth but managed to bring the tying run to the plate with two out. After Aaron Bossi, Travis Myers, and Gray Stafford reached to load the bases, a Ballou walk and an Eric Escobedo single produced runs to cut the lead to 9-5. One more run would come across on a passed ball, and Chase Vogelbach looked to score two with a double to right-center, but a diving catch by Memphis center fielder Ford Wilson ended the game.
Nathan Gomez was 2-for-4 in the contest, singling in each of his first two plate appearances. Bossi also finished with two hits, going 2-for-4 with a run. Andrew Dundon was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run.
Memphis starting pitcher Sam Moll took the win and improved to 7-3. The lefty allowed four hits, three walks, and two runs (one earned) across five innings. Moll also struck out three.
Marshall starter Wayland Moore (2-2) suffered the loss, lasting only two innings. The senior southpaw gave up three (earned) runs on three hits and five walks while striking out two.
Marshall and Memphis will finish the series on Sunday with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch.