April 18, 2008
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Thundering Herd baseball team returns to Conference USA action at Appalachian Power Park beginning Friday, April 18 against UCF. First-pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Marshall (16-19-1, 4-7-1) and UCF (26-13, 4-8) will meet again Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. start and will round out series play Sunday at 10:00 a.m.
UCF owns a 4-2 series lead on the Herd but Marshall pulled out a 6-3 victory in last season's finale. In that contest, Marshall was led by multiple-hit games from its since-departed seniors.
After being swept by No. 28 East Carolina last weekend, Marshall snapped its five-game losing skid and swept Eastern Kentucky in a midweek non-conference doubleheader Tuesday afternoon in Richmond, Ky. The Herd took a 9-3 decision in game one, and followed that with a 4-2 victory in the nightcap.
In game one of that series, shortstop Adam Yeager stole three bases for the third time in a single game to give him 25 total on the year (in 28 attempts). His 25 swipes rank him first in C-USA, and in the top 15 nationally. Yeager is also on pace to break Marshall's single-season record of 40 bags, and is nearing the halfway point of reaching Marshall's career stolen-base record of 60.
Right-hander Andrew Hancock retired a batter in game two against Eastern Kentucky for his 59th career appearance on the hill, giving him a share of sixth place on the Herd's all-time appearance list. The record is held by Chris Meadows who appeared in 95 games from 2001-2004.
Right-hander Arik Sikula earned his fourth save of the season in the nightcap against the Colonels and is now in a three-way tie for eighth on Marshall's all-time saves list. Meadows owns that record with 13 career saves.
With a 3.70 ERA, left-hander Andrew Blain (2-3) will take the hill Friday night against the Knights for his eighth start of the season (ninth appearance). The junior has fanned 25 batters in 41.1 innings and has allowed 25 runs on 46 hits so far this season.
Right-hander Cody Allen (2-0) will be on the mound Friday night for the Knights. Allen has a 3.00 ERA in twelve appearances (one start) on the season. He has struck out 32 batters in 27 innings of work while giving up nine runs on 21 hits. He has also held opposing batters to just a .216 batting average.
Saturday will feature Herd right-hander Steve Blevins (4-2), who has a 4.89 ERA in 49.2 innings. The junior has amassed a team-best 38 strikeouts and has issued just 17 free-passes en route to holding opponents to a modest .232 batting average.
UCF will throw Mitch Houck, who has a 5.79 ERA. He is 3-1 in seven starts (eight appearances) and has hurled 37.1 innings. Houck has allowed 25 runs on 40 hits so far this season, while cashing in on a team-best 56 strikeouts.
The series finale will pit Herd righty Dan Straily (3-2) against UCF right-hander Carmine Giardina (3-1). Straily has 35 strikeouts in 44 innings on the hill, and will make his ninth start of the season. The sophomore has held batters to a .256 overall batting average, and has registered a 4.50 ERA.
With a 3-1 record, Giardina (a southpaw) has 37 strikeouts in 25.2 innings on the hill and has given up 25 runs on 31 hits in nine appearances so far in 2008.
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