It all gets started with Marshall Tennis on Friday at 1:00 p.m., when the Broncos of Western Michigan come to Huntington for an important battle in the MAC. The match features the nation's #51-ranked team in Marshall and WMU, both tied for first in the MAC with twin 7-0 marks. Both teams will looking for a chance to clinch at least a tie for the regular season crown with a win and getting the number one seed for the MAC Tournament. MU is 17-4 and has won 29 consecutive MAC matches in tennis (back to 2002), while Western is 14-7 overall. Marshall's number one doubles team of Jessica Johnson and Ashley Kroh are ranked #28 in the nation this week by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Marshall will extend the home stand on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. match at the HC Courts against the Huskies of Northern Illinois (4-2 MAC, 8-6 overall). The matches are scheduled for the Henderson Center Tennis Courts, on 18th Street off Third Avenue.
MU Baseball also gets a big three day series with the Ohio Bobcats started Friday at 3:00 p.m. at University Heights (off Norway Avenue, between the Cabell County Vo-Tech and the new Wal-Mart Superstore construction on Route 60 East). Marshall (13-20, 1-7 in MAC) is hoping to get back in the MAC race after close loses to the Kent State Golden Flashes (3rd in East), Miami RedHawks (1st in East) and Eastern Michigan (tied for 2nd in West) in the early part of league play. Ohio (10-18, 4-5 in MAC) won two of three last weekend with Eastern and lead the all-time series with Marshall 103-35.
The Herd leads the MAC in fielding percentage (.970) and has the second-least errors in the league, while Ohio has a MAC-worst 57 errors. MU is hitting at .272 as a team while the Bobcats have a .286 average and both teams find their pitchers combined earned run averages over five runs per game, so it should be an offensive showcase at "The Heights," one of the MAC's best hitters parks. Ohio's top hitter is tenth in the MAC, as Anthony Gessick is hitting an even .400 for the year. One spot behind him is Brian Colopy at .394, while Ben Crabtree checks in at .394 for the season. Marshall's centerfielder, Chris Monaco, leads the MAC in stolen bases with 26 in 35 attempts while the Herd's leading hitter is third baseman Adam Frederick with a .338 average. Corie O'Bryan is hitting.319, while left fielder Francois Larmore leads Marshall in home runs (5), slugging percentage (.492) and runs-batted-in (25) to go along with a .311 average. Brian Chrisman (2-1) will get the start on Friday at 3:00 p.m. while Chris Koutsavlis (1-4) and Grant Harper (3-3) figure to start for Marshall in the 1:00 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's game can be heard on radio locally on the "Home of the Herd," WRVC 930 AM, with the "Voice of the Herd," Steve Cotton, on the call with color commentator Woody Woodrum.
Marshall's Women's Basketball team will wrap up a great season Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel when nearly 200 fans, friends and family are expected at the annual banquet. Marshall will celebrate an 18-12 season, best at Marshall since 1996-97, and a run to the semi-finals of the MAC Tournament at the banquet. Also, seniors Catie Knable, Nadia Swanigan and Amy Smith will be honored one final time. Tickets are $20.00 and can be picked up by calling 696-3230.
Finally, Marshall Softball is home to battle Miami in three huge games at Dot Hicks Field, located between the Twin Towers Residence Halls and the Cam Henderson Center. The RedHawks (16-18, 9-3 in MAC) are second in the East Division while Marshall (25-18, 6-3) is in third (before Thursday's game at Ohio). Marshall has three players leading most of the offensive categories in MAC play: Sierra Davenport lead the league in hits (54) and runs (37); Amanda Williams leads in RBI (36), doubles (10) and triples (5); while Leigh Wintter leads in home runs (9). MU lead the league with .283 batting average.
Road Warriors for Marshall include: MU Men's Golf, off its best finish in some time with a third in the Marshall Invitational last week and Huntington senior Burke Spensky as the MAC Golfer of the Week, will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to play in Ohio State's Kepler Intercollegiate this Saturday and Sunday; and MU Women's Track and Field will also have a short trip, to Richmond, Kentucky, to run at Eastern Kentucky on Friday. The Marshall Women's Golf team is off this weekend as they prepare for the MAC Championships April 23-24-25 at Hamilton, Ohio.