Grant Harper (5-4) started for Marshall and won his second decision in a row for the Herd. More importantly, he was also the last pitcher to throw a shutout for the Herd, beating Bowling Green 5-0 last season and pitched into the seventh in the win over EKU. It marked the second straight win over a Bluegrass State team for the Grayson, Kentucky, senior who beat Morehead State last week. It also was his 18th career victory at Marshall, which is now second on the all-time wins list as Harper broke a tie with Sean Reeder (1997-2000) and Greg Kappas (1974-77) at 17 wins. He trails MU's all-time wins leader, Albie DeYoung (19 wins, 1975-78) by one game in the wins catagory
Also climbing up the career record book was Huntinton senior Chris Meadows, who recorded his 93rd appearance in the ninth inning of the game. Meadows extends the record he already held at Marshall and tied the all-time Mid-American Conference mark for appearances, set by Matt Speicher of Ball State University from 1996-99. Meadows, who is the season save leader (6, 2003) and career saves leader at Marshall (13 since 2001 and 5 this season), is expected to break the MAC appearance record with MU still having seven games scheduled.
Also pitching well in the game for the Herd was LaGrange, Illinois, senior Steve Ziroli, who gave up only one hit in one and one-third inning while striking out two. Ziroli (2-1, 1 save) picked up his third career save over the weekend at Akron. Most impressive about the three Herd pitchers combining for a shutout of the Colonels is the fact that EKU came into the game batting .386 as a team, 60 points higher than any team in the MAC (Central Michigan is hitting .328 for the year). The trio of seniors held EKU to eight hits and Harper pitched out of bases loaded in the first; two-on, one out in the second; and runners first and second with two outs in the sixth. "I just was nibbling at the corners in the first," said Harper, "to see where (the umpire's) strikezone was and it was tight. I just adjusted and the team played great defense behind me, turning a double-play in the second. Rich (Russell) threw out two-of-three base runners, as well." Harper was less forthcoming about the record-18th win. "It's a team game and all those guys have to do their job for me to get a 'W'," said Harper, "but it feels good to be mentioned with those other great Marshall pitchers."
Centerfielder Chris Monaco, a junior college player from Tucson, Arizona, set the new single-season stolen bases mark in the game Tuesday by swiping his 33rd in the first to tie Aaron Williams, who also had 33 in 1999. He set the new mark in the second with his 34th of the season. 34 in his short career, however, is good enough to move him to fourth all-time in the category at MU and he trails Williams by only 25 steals with seven games scheduled this year and another 50 or so next season. Monaco, who is tenth in the nation in stolen bases at .73 per game, hit for 4-of-5 in the game, raising his average 15 points (.255) on the year with 23 walks, best on the team for bases-on-balls.
Another Herd player who stayed hot is Adam Frederick, the MAC East Division Player of the Week for his 7-of-12 weekend against Akron. He was 4-for-4 against EKU with a home run (his third), a walk and his team-leading 40th run-batted-in. His average over the last four games is 11-of-16, .688 over that stretch, and he has raised his team-leading average to .368 for the season. Catcher Rich Russell, a sophomore for the Herd like Frederick, was three-of-four on the day with a homer, two doubles and four RBI. He is second on the team with an average of .326 and leads Marshall with 14 doubles on the season.
Marshall scored two in the first and second (on Mike Koitsopoulos' two-run home run, his third of the year) innings for a 4-0 lead, then stretched it to 7-0 with three more in the third. Francois Larmore, the Herd's senior leftfielder, added a run in the sixth by reaching on a strikeout, but passed ball by EKU catcher Keith Bolger that allowed Larmore to reach first. He scored on Russell's sac fly following first baseman Corie O'Bryan's single. DH Brad Helm started the seventh by being hit by a pitch for the second consecutive at bat, went to third on Monaco's single and then scored when Josh McConnell picked up a hit as a replacement at second base for Aaron Jamieson. Larmore drove in Monaco for his 38th RBI of the year. Frederick finished the scoring with his eighth inning lead-off home run.
Marshall is at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. BSU is in the battle for the West Division crown, trailing CMU by three in the loss column but both with 13 wins. The Cardinals are 24-20 overall. Marshall will travel to Richmond, Kentucky, next Wednesday for a rematch with EKU at 3:00 p.m. The Herd wraps up the season with Buffalo on May 21 (3:00 p.m.), 22 and 23 (both at 1:00 p.m.). May 23 is Senior Day.