@HerdBaseball holds off WKU in Game Two, 10-9
Tommy Lane was a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs scored and a homer
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall baseball team earned its third-straight victory on Saturday by holding off the WKU Hilltoppers, 10-9, at the Kennedy Center Field on Route 2.
The Thundering Herd improves to 23-23 (11-12 Conference USA). Pitcher Joshua Shapiro (3-4) earned the win by throwing four innings in relief with seven strikeouts. The Hilltoppers fall to 14-34 (4-19 C-USA). Relief pitcher Evan Acosta (1-7) was credited with the loss after allowing four runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Marshall put up a run on the board in the bottom of the first for the second consecutive day. Will Ray led off the inning with a single to right field. Shane Hanon moved Ray over to third on a two-out double down the right field line. Andrew Zban capitalized with runners in scoring position with a single to center field that scored Ray and Hanon.
After WKU cut its deficit to one run in the top of the second inning, the Thundering Herd scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame. Ray was walked and stole second base with two outs. Tyler Ratliff followed with a double to center field to score Ray. Finfer joined in with a double of his own to score Ratliff.
The Herd pushed its lead to four runs, largest of the contest, in the bottom of the third. Tommy Lane singled through the right side and later advanced to second on a ground out. Billy Sager drove in Lane with a two-out RBI single through the right side.
The Hilltoppers cut their deficit to one run once again, but this time in the top of the fifth. WKU scored three runs off a Hunter Wood solo home run, a Smith RBI double to left field and a Kevin Lambert RBI single to the shortstop.
Marshall responded in the bottom half of the fifth inning with two runs. Zban led off with a walk. Lane subsequently hit a single to center field, and a WKU fielding error allowed Zban to score and Lane to second. Lane later came around to score on a Sager ground out.
WKU and Marshall traded home runs in the sixth inning. The Hilltoppers scored three runs off a Hood sacrifice fly to right field and a two-run homer by Thomas Peter. In the bottom of the sixth, Finfer deposited his team-leading 15th homer of the season with a two-run blast to right field.
Lane capped off his 4-for-4 day with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. The homer was his second of the season and proved to be the deciding run for the Herd.
The Hilltoppers brought the game back within one in the top of the eighth with a Wood two-run homer to left field. It was the catcher’s second homer of the game.
“The biggest thing about today was our offense just kept on answering back,” head coach Jeff Waggoner said. “Anytime they scored, we’d score. We had good defense, but I think that was the biggest thing that our offense showed up and kept answering.”
Starting pitcher Jacob Niggemeyer earned the no decision after allowing three earned runs on 10 hits. The junior had three strikeouts and two walks.
Seven players combined for Marshall’s 13 hits. Lane was 4-for-4 with a RBI and three runs scored. Finfer finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and one run scored. Ratliff was 2-for-5 with a RBI and two runs scored. Ray, Hanon, Zban and Sager each had one hit.
Marshall looks for its first Conference USA sweep of the season on Sunday at 1 p.m.