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Herd Baseball Ready to Heat Up 2014

RS Senior Ryan Hopkins is one of two seniors on the 2014 squad

Feb. 13, 2014

Gametracker Links:

Game 1  |  Game 2  |  Game 3 |  Game 4

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. -- Despite reports of impending snowstorms, Marshall baseball will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to face  three teams in the Wake Forest Tournament to open the 2014 season.

The Herd will face Georgetown on Saturday, Towson on Sunday, and play a doubleheader with host Wake Forest on Monday.  All games will be played at Gene Hooks Field.

Live stats will be available along through Gametracker, as well as  recaps and complete stats postgame. For live updates, follow @HerdBaseball on Twitter.


Marshall  finished 20-34 last season, and enters the 2014 campaign with only two seniors on its roster- right-handed pitchers Ryan Hopkins (Sardinia, Ohio) and Josh King (Troup, Ga.).

King is expected to start Saturday for the Herd after going 1-3 his junior year with a 3.82 ERA. King is third all time in the Marshall record books with 9 saves in his career.

Junior Matt Margaritonda (Freehold, N.J.) will take the mound Sunday. The righty went 0-5 in 2013, posting a 5.18 ERA, but did post two saves. Margaritonda will be making his second start of his collegiate career, the first coming in the Herd’s 2013 finale against No. 20 (in 2013) Rice.

The Herd welcomes 13 newcomers, with three junior college transfers and two additional transfers bringing added experience to Coach Jeff Waggoner’s club.  Juniors TJ Diffenderfer (Mount Juliet, Tenn.), Keanu Ramos (Lubbock, Texas), and Clint Wilson (Austin, Texas) join the Herd after playing junior college ball.  Ramos and Wilson bring Junior College World Series experience -- Ramos with Midland College in  2013 and Wilson with Navarro Junior College in 2011.

Marshall also greeted Clemson University transfer Matt Reed (Purcellville, Va.) and West Virginia transfer Caleb Ross (Barboursville, W.Va.) who add further game-day experience to the young Herd.



The Hoyas finished the 2013 season with a 25-28 overall record (5-19 Big East). Of the 28 student-athletes on this year's squad, 18 were on the team last year, including six position players who started 30 or more games.

Sophomore Nick Collins was selected to the Preseason All-Big East Team at catcher and designated hitter. Collins led the Hoyas in 2013 with a .333 batting average, starting in 22 games behind the plate and 23 as DH.

Getting the opening-game start is junior Jack Vander Linden, who returns as the Hoyas’ top starter from 2013. Vander Linden finished the year with a 3-5 record and 4.13 ERA. In two seasons, the righty has tossed 135 innings.



With 21 letter winners returning from last year’s Colonial Athletic Association championship team, the Tigers have been picked to finish fourth in the 2014 race.

Senior designated hitter Kurt Wertz and senior outfielder Dominic Fratantuono  were selected to the   Preseason All-CAA team. Wertz batted .338 in 57 games and led the CAA with 65 RBI. Wertz had 14 doubles, seven triples and 13 home runs and scoring 43 runs in his 2013 campaign.

A third-team All-CAA selection as a junior, Fratantuono was the Tigers’ leading hitter with a .342 batting average in 2013. He also led  the Tigers with 79 base hits and  17 doubles, 5 triples, 8 home runs and 53 runs batted in.

Taking the mound against the Herd will be junior Nick Cioffi, who went 1-1 last season with a 4.87 ERA in 25 appearances.


Wake Forest was selected to finish sixth in the ACC’s Atlantic Division for 2014, falling a spot from its 2013 finish when the Deacs were 28-27 (9-20 ACC).

Senior Evan Stephens enters 2014 as the top hitter for the Demon Deacons, hitting .358 as a junior while leading the team in runs (43) and hits (68).

Getting the start Monday for Game 1 against Marshall is redshirt junior John McLeod, who sat out the 2013 season due to injury. In 2012, the southpaw posted a 4.71 ERA without getting any decisions.

Game 2 will feature junior Matt Pirro, who started 12 games last season, earning a 3-6 record with a 5.52 ERA.


Marshall will return to North Carolina to face North Carolina A&T in a three-game series in Greensboro from Feb. 21-23.