Baseball Splits Twin-Bill With Morehead St.

It is one of Marshall's longest running rivalries, with 114 games coming through the years in the "I-64 Rivalry." The Herd hosted the Eagles of Morehead State University Tuesday and the teams split a pair of games at University Heights in Huntington. Scott Henning threw a complete game, two hit, seven inning 5-1 win in the opener, while Marshall battled back from a 5-1 hole in game two. The Herd came up just short in a 6-5 win by the Eagles.

Both teams, seperated by about sixth miles on Interstate 64, broke long losing streaks with the wins. Marshall (12-18) had lost six in a row, including a 0-for-5 start to Mid-American Conference play, since upsetting Kentucky in Lexington on March 24. Morehead State (6-20) had lost 12 games in a row and 16 of its last 17 games in the second-consective seasons of poor starts for the Eagles, only 16-33 in 2003. Morehead State leads the all-time series between the two schools by 60-51-3.

Marshall got a tremendous complete game pitching performance by Henning (3-5), who was averaging only three innings per appearance coming into the game. He held the Eagles hitless through five innings before MSU got their only run in the sixth on a walk (one of only two for the Eagles) and a double by Morehead's third baseman Zac Carr.

Henning would get plenty of support from his team. MAC Co-Player of the Week for the East Division, designated hitter Corie O'Bryan, stayed hot from his 5-for-5 Sunday game with Miami by doubling in his first plate appearance. He would give MU a 1-0 lead on a single by right fielder Joe Glevenyak. Second baseman Aaron Jamieson would lead off the third inning with his second-ever home run for the Herd, making only his fifth start of the year. Marshall scored twice more in the inning when shortstop Mike Koitsopoulos reached on an error and moved to second on centerfield Chris Monaco's base hit. After Roddy Stieger, MU's first baseman, put down a sacrifice bunt, Koitsopoulos scored on catcher Rich Russell's ground out. Monaco came in when O'Bryan recorded his seventh consecutive hit over two games to give the Herd a 4-1, possibly a Marshall record for consecutive hits (being researched). Third baseman Adam Frederick scored the Herd's final runs on a double, then two consecutive wild pitches by MSU starting pitcher Cody Sorrell (0-2).

In game two, MU got out to a 1-0 lead when Monaco led off with a single, stole his MAC leading 21st base and scored on O'Bryan grounding into a double play. MSU evened the game up in the third, then grabbed a 5-1 lead on Eagles first baseman Bryan Ingram's grand slam in the fourth inning off Herd starter Adam Dobies. MU started to claw back in the bottom of the inning with left fielder Francois Larmore's leadoff single and stolen base. Frederick drove him in for a 5-2 game.

Marshall got another run in the fifth with back-to-back singles by Russell and O'Bryan and a RBI double by Glevenyak. Marshall left both runners on base, however, a costly trend for the Herd who stranded 10 in the game. The sixth inning would be the key to the game, when Lance Seasor reached on an error by O'Bryan. He was moved to third by Matt Morris hitting a single and moved home on a wild pitch by Herd reliever Chris Cummings (1-3).

The unearned run loomed large when the Herd pushed two (two-out) runs across in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitter Brad Helm worked a 3-2 walk and reached third on a single by Koitsopoulos to cut the MSU lead to 6-4. A balk, followed by back-to-back wild pitches by MSU reliever Michael Bebok put the Herd down 6-5 when Koitsopoulos came home. Monaco reached on a single and stole his 22nd base of the year but the rally died with Jamieson striking out. The Herd threated in the ninth with a one-out walk by O'Bryan but were unable to push that run home.

Donnie Spencer (1-0) picked up his first win for Morehead State, despite allowing nine hits and three runs. Luke Lockwood recorded a save with two outs in the ninth while Cummings took the hard-luck loss on the unearned run. Marshall will be on the road Friday through Sunday for MAC games at Kent State University. The road swing continues next Wednesday at Richmond, Kentucky, with a game at Eastern Kentucky University, before the Herd returns home for three with nearby MAC rival Ohio University on April 16-17-18 at University Heights. The Friday game will be at 3:00 p.m. while Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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