The Miami RedHawks improved to 18-9, 4-1 (first in the MAC East Division) with an 11-3 and 8-7, in 10 innings, sweep of Marshall at University Heights on Sunday. The scheduled three-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been reduced to two nine-inning games on April 4, due to wet ground at the Heights. While the field was in great shape, considering the amount of precipitation it took last week, Marshall's offense looked mired in the mud against the MAC's winningest pitcher, RedHawks game one starter Keith Weiser.
Weiser pitched seven strong innings to improve to a league best six wins against only one loss this season. He got all the runs he would need in the first when Miami scored four runs after the Herd got the first two batters out. Included in that outburst was a two-run home run by Miami second baseman Jeff Orr. The RedHawks added one in the fifth, three in the sixth, two in the eighth and one more in the ninth.
Marshall's only bright spot was a three-run homer by designated hitter Corie O'Bryan in the bottom of the sixth. O'Bryan was 2-of-4 in the first game and had 40 percent (2-of-5) of Marshall's hits in game one. Freshman pitcher Brian Chrisman (2-1) took the loss.
Game two got off to the same start for Miami, as the RedHawks scored four runs in the first inning, including a two-run single by third baseman Brian Canada. Marshall would begin to answer in the bottom of the first with centerfielder Chris Monaco walking and later scoring on O'Bryan's third hit of the day, an RBI double.
Miami touched up Herd starter Grant Harper (3-3) for three more runs in the third to go up 7-1. Harper would be lifted in the fourth for sophomore starter Chris Koutsavlis, who missed his turn in the rotation with the weather delays. Koutsavlis was "untouchable" for the remained of regulation, recording outs on each of the 17 batters he faced through the end of the ninth inning. "Koot" had four strikeouts as well as seven fly or pop outs.
Marshall began to battle back in the fourth, when catcher Rich Russell had one of his three hits followed by another O'Bryan double. Left fielder Francois Larmore picked up two runs-batted-in with a single to make the score 7-3 and later scored on shortstop Mike Koitsopoulos' single. Russell led off the fifth with another single and Marshall again had runners at second and third when O'Bryan doubled for the third straight time. Larmore grounded out to plate Russell and Marshall was down two after five, 7-5.
Russell homered with one out in the seventh to make it 7-6, but O'Bryan was stranded at third after a single for his fourth straight hit of the game. In the ninth, O'Bryan collected a single to end the game at 5-for-5, with three doubles, and 7-of-9 for the twin bill, when Brad Helm came into the game to run for O'Bryan. Larmore would hit into a fielder's choice to force Helm, but moved all the way to third when RedHawk catcher John Sloan threw the ball away on Larmore's steal attempt. He would tie the game at 7-7 on right fielder Joe Glevenyak's RBI single.
Unfortunately for the Herd, Koutsavlis' first hit allowed was a leadoff, first-pitch long home run by Miami first baseman Mike Ferris, who leads the MAC with 15. Marshall answered once again in the bottom of the 10th, loading the bases with one out when pinch runner Chris Peak was forced at home. Pinch hitter Roddy Stieger struck out with the bases loaded to end the contest. Marshall dropped to 11-17 and is winless in the MAC in five tries. Marshall is home Tuesday for Morehead State University at University Heights at 3:00 p.m.