April 4, 2013
CBS GameTracker: Game One | Game Two | Game Three
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall baseball will square off with the No. 19 Houston Cougars this Friday through Sunday in a three-game Conference USA series at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va.
Game times/probable starters:
Friday, 2:05 p.m.
RHP Chase Boster (1-4, 4.09) vs. RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (4-2, 2.62)
Saturday, 2:05 p.m.
RHP Aaron Blair (4-1, 2.60) vs. RHP Austin Pruitt (6-1, 2.09)
Sunday, 10 a.m.
RHP Michael Taylor (3-2, 2.28) vs. TBA
All three games of the series can be followed through CBS GameTracker and the Herd All-Access video stream found at HerdZone.com.
Marshall (11-17, 1-2 C-USA) and Houston (23-7, 5-1 C-USA) competed in one of the most tightly-contested series last year in Houston as all three games were decided by a single run and each victor found the winning run in one of the last two frames.
In game one, the Thundering Herd fell victim to a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth that propelled the Cougars to a 3-2 triumph. Two days later, it was a sacrifice fly that scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth to give UH the series win. Marshall won the Saturday meeting, but the two losses proved to be detrimental toward MU's postseason hopes as the Herd finished half a game behind the Cougars in the final standings.
This season, Marshall's offensive attack is led by sophomore Andrew Dundon whose .327 average has led the team in hitting nearly all season long. Senior Isaac Ballou bats .292 and reaches base at a rate of .420. Ballou's current OBP ranks seventh in C-USA and has been aided primarily by a 20-game reached base streak.
The upcoming weekend will see two of the top pitchers in C-USA go toe-to-toe when Aaron Blair meets Houston's Austin Pruitt on Saturday afternoon.
Blair, who has thrown quality starts in his last four outings, boasts an ERA of 0.47 in his last three appearances. For the season, the right-hander is limiting opposing hitters to just .179 at the plate, ranking third in C-USA. Pruitt ranks 10th in that category as opposing hitters average .216 against the fellow right-hander.
Pruitt's six wins are unmatched by any other league pitcher, and his 2.09 ERA is eighth best.
Houston is led on the offensive side by freshman Justin Montemayor who is batting .325. Two other Cougars bat over .300, including freshman Josh Vidales who rivals Ballou in on-field performance this season.
The No. 19 Cougars broke into the national rankings at No. 28 on March 18 and currently stand at their best ranking of the season. Houston is ranked 32 in the NCAA's latest RPI listing.