Busy Weekend In Marshall Athletics Underway

Spring football practice at Marshall is over for this week, but there is plenty of athletic action for Thundering Herd fans this weekend. As we speak, baseball, softball and tennis are beginning three big days of competition. Saturday, both the men's and women's basketball teams get into action in big Mid-American Conference games: the women host the first-ever MAC first round women's tournament game at 1:00 p.m. Saturday against Buffalo; the men head to Miami to try and grab a home game Monday.

The women (16-11/8-8 in MAC) are the number six seed in the tournament and play the number 11 Bulls, who beat Marshall handily in their only meeting in Buffalo. Marshall not only clinched a first-ever home game in the tournament with wins over Ohio and Akron last week, the Herd has its first winning season since 1996-97, the last year in the Southern Conference for Marshall.

The men (11-15, 8-9 MAC) travel to Miami looking for a rare win in Oxford, Ohio's, Millet Hall for the team in green. Marshall has won only 10 times in 35 games at Miami, all the back to the Buckeye Conference membership for both schools in the 1930's. Marshall has won consecutive games over Ohio and Akron and is looking for its first three-game winning streak of the season. Marshall can clinch a first-round home game in the MAC Tournament if: a) Marshall beats Miami; b) Akron loses to Buffalo at Akron; c) Western Michigan beats Northern Illinois or; d) Kent State loses to Ohio.

Marshall baseball (3-7) has four games at University Heights this weekend. Concord is in for a single game at 2:00 p.m. Friday. Then, the Herd has a first-ever meeting with Niagara starting with anm 11:00 a.m. Saturday double-header and a single game at 1:00 p.m. Sunday. Baseball has junior college outfielder Chris Monaco leading them in batting with a .355 average, while reliever Chris Cummings (1.35 ERA) and starter Grant Harper (4.95 ERA) are both 1-1 for the year. True freshman Brian Chrisman (1-0) picked up a win, 10-3, on Wednesday against WV State in his first-ever start for MU, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings.

Softball (6-8) has its first-ever tournament Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Ramada/Marshall Softball Spring Classic. Marshall will play Cleveland State on Friday at 2:00 p.m., then Eastern Michigan at 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, MU faces the University of Pittsburgh at 2:00 p.m. and Cleveland State at 4:00 p.m. On Sunday, Marshall finishes round-robin play with games against EMU at Noon and Pitt at 4:00 p.m.

The nationally-ranked MU tennis team, #52 this week in the national rankings, will face two ranked teams this weekend. #69 Virginia Tech is in Friday at 2:00 p.m. for a match, while #74 Minnesota is in Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Both matches are scheduled for the Henderson Center Tennis Courts but could be moved to the Huntington Tennis Club, behind the Huntington Mall in Barboursville, WV, if the weather is wet.

Finally, although you cannot watch the golf teams without some travel, it might be worth it for the nice weather. The men's team is at the St. Croix Invitational in the U.S. Virgin Islands this weekend, playing in a tourney hosted by Xavier University of nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. The women's golf team is at the East-West Rio Verde Invitational in Rio Verde, Arizona, to play in a tournament hosted in part by Eastern and Western Michigan Universities. 41-year old first-year golfer for Marshall, Tammy Maher, will make her spring debut with the Herd women's team.


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