Feb. 17, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Even with the recent spike in temperature in the surrounding Tri-State area, the Marshall University baseball team will head south to Charleston, S.C., to open the season in a four-team tournament hosted by the College of Charleston at The Ballpark at Patriots Point.
Tournament Schedule & Pitching Matchups
Friday: 1 p.m.
(V) Marshall: RHP Shane Farrell (1-2, 6.56 ERA)
(H) Miami (OH): RHP Mac Thoreson (5-6, 5.08 ERA)
Saturday: 5 p.m.
(V) Kentucky: LHP Taylor Rogers (4-7, 6.40 ERA)
(H) Marshall: LHP Mike Mason (3-7, 7.71 ERA)
Sunday: 3 p.m.
(V) Marshall: RHP Arik Sikula (6-5, 3.88 ERA)
(H) C of C: RHP Josh Salay (2-3, 6.45 ERA) OR RHP Christian Powell (7-4, 6.84 ERA)
Marshall Scouting Report: A season ago, the Thundering Herd won its most Conference USA games in school history (12) and its best league finish (4th). From the 2010 squad, Marshall returns some key components, with hopes to improve on the 27-31 overall record.
Top position players that are back from a season ago include senior first baseman Victor Gomez, who was named a Preseason NCBWA Third Team All-American and First Team C-USA honoree, along with younger brother Nathan Gomez (So., OF), Ben Jurevicius (Sr., OF) and James Lavinskas (Sr., INF).
N. Gomez makes the move to the outfield after seeing most of his time at first base. He is expected to be in the middle of the Herd lineup, as the lefty will provide protection to his brother. Jurevicius hit .389 against C-USA pitchers last season and is expected to be towards the top of the MU lineup and Lavinskas makes the move from the third base to second and hit at a .342 clip in his year in Huntington.
All three weekend starters are back in Ian Kadish, Mike Mason and 2010 First Team All-C-USA righty Arik Sikula, accompanied by a promising group of young arms. Kadish makes the move to the closer’s role, with redshirt junior Shane Farrell taking his spot in the rotation after missing much of last season due to injury.
Player to Watch: OF Isaac Ballou, So.
Beyond the powerful bat of Victor Gomez, sophomore Isaac Ballou is a player to watch in the season opening tournament. The Smithville, Va., native hit just .230 during his first season at Marshall and was 12-for-15 on stolen bases, but really blossomed during his summer league stint for the Wilmar Stingers of the Northwoods League. For the Stingers, Ballou knocked in 37 runs and was 24-for-27 in steal attempts and should be a catalyst at the top of the Herd order this year.
Miami Scouting Report: The Redhawks finished 2010 with an even 28-28 overall record and 13-14 in the Mid-American Conference, good for third place in the East Division. Miami returns all three weekend starters from last season, as the Herd will face team ace Mac Thoreson who earned five victories and fired two complete games last season.
Player to Watch: C Adam Weisenburger, Sr.
The Redhawks’ backstop registered a .312 batting average, while launching five homers, 13 doubles and knocking 45 RBI in 50 games played in 2010.
Kentucky Scouting Report: The most northern team in the SEC will take on the Herd for the third time in four years, after not competing against each other in 2010. The Herd will have the opportunity to put the ball in play against lefty hurler Taylor Rogers, who is scheduled to make the start. Rogers pitched a team best 83 innings last year, striking out only 39 batters and walking just 15. The Wildcats are dangerous on the base paths as the totaled 120 thefts last season.
Player to Watch: SS Taylor Black, Sr.
Black was a 24th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals, but opted to come back to Lexington for his senior year. No stranger to the Charleston, S.C., area, Black played a season at Charleston Southern where he earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors in 2008. Last season he belted 11 homers and was a perfect 12-for-12 on stolen bases.
College of Charleston Scouting Report: Ranked No. 20 in the country by Baseball America, the Cougars return an incredibly deep team that came within a run from advancing to the Super Regionals in 2010, finishing with a 44-19 overall record. As a team, C of C launched 105 homers last season, which ranked fifth in the country along with an impressive team slugging percentage of .540.
Player to Watch: OF Cole Raker, Sr.
Raker was selected the Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year after producing lofty numbers last season. He finished in the nation’s top-20 in runs (76), hits (102) and doubles (26), while producing an impressive .378 batting average.
Live stats will be available for all three games of the tournament by logging onto HerdZone.com. Check the Marshall baseball schedule page for live audio and video streaming of the tournament.