It is that time of the year again. Time to temporarily put football and basketball on the side burner (not back burner, as that can just never be allowed), and move on to Baseball. Marshall Baseball has been playing for a little over a month now. Through the first 20 games, the Herd Nine has put together 9 wins against 11 losses in a schedule that has been played out of the state of WV, with the exception of three games last weekend in Beckley against St. Bonaventure.
Beginning tonight at 7:30 in Birmingham, Alabama, Marshall starts conference play. The first series is a three game set against the UAB Blazers. Projected starters for the Herd on the mound will be Aaron Blair on Friday, Mike Mason on Saturday and Junior College transfer Wayland Moore on Sunday.
Marshall has put together a rather odd first part of the season. Though they have been able to scrap out 9 wins, they have seldom been able to put together a game in which the pitching, defense and hitting were all on the same page. This will be the key to keeping their heads above the CUSA waters and get themselves into the CUSA tourney. That of which they missed last season.
If a special run is going to be made, as it was a few years back, the hitting is going to have to be consistently solid. Marshall, in the past was built up of power hitting players at all positions. However, last season, a season in which drastic equipment changes were made by the NCAA, the Herd struggled mightily to score runs. That has already began this season, a season in which Marshall has already been on the business end of a no hitter.
A few players are seeing decent results at the plate. Eric Semeniuk is leading the team in hitting at .310 but that is only with 29 official at bats. The every day player with the highest average is Isaac Ballou. Ballou currently is hitting at a .307 clip which ties him with Nathan Gomez.
Ballou started the season where he ended last year, as the teams leadoff hitter. However, after struggling to score runs early, Jeff Waggoner moved his hot hitter to the three hole. Waggoner saw success with this last season when he moved scrappy hitting shortstop Kenny Socorro to the three hole. Moving away from the theory that you put a power hitter in that spot, Socorro responded by driving in 27 runs, most of which occurred after moving to the three spot in the order. Currently on the season, ballou has hit 2 homeruns and driven in 10 runs. He has also stolen 9 bases on 12 attempts.
Gomez leads the Herd in RBI's with 23, followed by freshman sensation Adrian Farris. Farris is hitting .295 for the season with one home run and 13 RBI's.
Other players seeing some early success at the plate is Alfredo Brito who is hitting .292 with two homeruns and 12 RBI's, and Grey Stafford who has also driven in 10 runs. Stafford also is second on the team with 7 stolen bases.
On the mound, sophomore Josh King has built on his freshman campaign by running out of the gate with a 1.53 ERA in 6 appearances. Freshman Matt Margaritonda leads the team with 11 appearances. He has parlayed that into a 1.74 ERA, which included 10 strikeouts in 10.1 innings. Senior Mike Mason is the stud of the rotation. He has started five games, put up a 2.59 ERA, struck out 32 in 31 innings, and has 3 wins against only one loss.
Senior Jesse Fernandez leads the team with 2 saves.
Again, Marshall opens conference play tonight at 730pm at UAB. You can watch the game via Herd All Access on Herdzone.com
Games two and three are Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 2pm respectively.
Herd Baseball Opens CUSA Play
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