May 5, 2017
Box Score (PDF)
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Reynaldo Pastrana’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded led the Marshall baseball team over the WKU Hilltoppers, 3-2, on Friday at the Kennedy Center Field.
The Thundering Herd improves to 22-23 (10-12 Conference USA) with the victory. Relief pitcher Matt Reed (6-4) earned his team-leading sixth win of the year by tossing one shutout inning. WKU falls to 14-33 (4-18 C-USA). Ryan Thurston (3-5) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on five hits.
“I thought we had great focus to start the game,” head coach Jeff Waggoner said. “Wade Martin had a great game and set the tone. WKU’s pitcher threw really well too and there was great defense on both sides. It was good to see Tyler [Ratliff] come up in a big situation and hit the double. Rey [Pastrana] did a good job getting him in for the win. Overall, it was just good team baseball and it’s always good to win on Friday.”
The Thundering Herd scoring began in the bottom of the first when Tyler Ratliff hit a one-out solo home run over the left field wall. It was the junior’s 10th homer and 43rd RBI.
Marshall added another run to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Sam Finfer led off the inning with a line-drive double down the left field line. The senior advanced to third on a Shane Hanon fly out to deep center field. Finfer came around to score on an Andrew Zban ground out to the WKU first baseman.
The Hilltoppers tied the game up at two in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Marshall Smith hit a two-run home run to right field with one out.
The contest became a standstill as neither team could gain an edge. Marshall and WKU combined for just one hit from the sixth inning through the top of the ninth inning.
The Herd found the spark it needed in the bottom of the ninth, as Ratliff led off with a double off the wall in left field. Finfer followed with a walk and Hanon loaded the bases on a bunt single. Pastrana became the hero with a one-out RBI single to center field, scoring Ratliff for the game-winning run.
Sophomore Wade Martin made the start on the mound for the Herd. The right-handed pitcher started off the game strong, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. The Wheelersburg, Ohio native went eight innings and allowed two runs on three hits. He had eight strikeouts in the no decision.
Marshall was led on offense by Finfer, Ratliff and Pastrana. Ratliff went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double, while Finfer went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. Pastrana went 1-for-4 with a RBI single.
Marshall and WKU will meet on Saturday at 3 p.m. for game two of the three-game set.