Herd Knocks Off Bobcats, 4-3; Tennis Clinch MAC

Marshall got two big Mid-American Conference wins on Friday. First, MU Tennis clinched its second consecutive MAC Regular Season Championship and third since 1998 with a 5-2 win over previously unbeaten Western Michigan. MU and WMU were 7-0 in the league entering today's action and Marshall can do no worse than a tie with Saturday's 1:00 p.m. match with Northern Illinois, at the Henderson Center courts. Marshall is now 18-4, 8-0 in the MAC. The Herd swept the doubles and went 4-2 in singles.

Meanwhile at University Heights, Marshall baseball got great pitching and timely hitting from senior shortstop Mike Koitsopoulos, who hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, to lift the Herd to its second MAC win of the year, 4-3, over the Ohio Bobcats. Freshman Brian Chrisman improved to 3-1 on the season with five innings of two-hit, three run baseball, although none of the runs were earned.

Senior Steve Ziroli had another magnificent outing from the bullpen, pitching three and two-thirds innings with two hits, three strikeouts and no runs, before giving way to fellow senior Chris Meadows came into nail down the win with a strikeout of Bryan Buck with a runner on first for Ohio. Meadows collected his fourth save of the season. Marshall's three pitchers gave up seven walks but rang up 10 Bobcats on strikeouts, with Chrisman recording five.

Ziroli helped the defense turn three double plays in his four innings of pitching, starting an 1-2-3 (pitcher to catcher to first) with the bases loaded in the sixth inning when he inherited two walks from Chrisman. Ziroli did in the Bobcats again in the seventh with a 1-6-3 (pitcher to shortstop, at second base, to first) effort that erased a lead-off single. The best came in the ninth, however, when second baseman Aaron Jamieson handled a rope from Ohio's Dusty Hammond. He flipped to Koitsopoulos, who stepped over pinch-runner Jared Willis of Ohio and threw a stike to first baseman Corie O'Bryan to complete the double play.

"This is a big win for us," said Herd coach Dave Piepenbrink. "It's a good start to the conference weekend, but we have a great deal of work to do." This is only the 36th win for Marshall in a series that will play game number 140 all-time on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., carried live on WRVC 930 AM Radio (with Steve Cotton and Woody Woodrum on the call). Marshall improved to 12-18 on the year, 2-7 in the MAC. Ohio dropped to 11-19, 4-6 in MAC play with the loss. Koitsopoulos was 1-for-4, with two runs and two runs-batted-in while Jamison continued his hot hitting with a 2-for-5 day. Brad Helm, who started in left field while Francois Larmore played designated hitter (1-for-2 with two walks), was 0-of-1 but walked three times and scored twice in the game. Game three is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at University Heights.

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