Marshall improved to 6-2 at their home field, where Joe Glevenyak, the Herd's senior right fielder, stated during the first series win of the year over St. Bonaventure, "We've got to defend the Heights!" So far, Marshall has taken the first two games from the Bonnies, as well as Eastern Michigan two weeks ago. On Sunday, Marshall will look to freshman David Slovak to win game three, after saving games one and two out of the bullpen. Marshall has never sweep three MAC games in a row and the last sweep for the Herd in conference play was 1995 against the Furman Purple Paladins in the Southern Conference. Marshall is 10-16 overall, 5-3 in the MAC, just one game behind MAC East leaders Miami and Ohio (4-2 in MAC play).
"We're swinging the bats well," said head coach Dave Piepenbrink after Friday's win and it was still true on Saturday, as Marshall scored four runs in the first inning for a 4-0 lead. Back-to-back singles to start by centerfielder Adam Ptacek and third baseman Adam Frederick were followed by second baseman Aaron Jamieson's double to the right field alley, scoring Ptacek. Frederick scored when left fielder Aaron Levinson reached on a error by Kent's Drew Saylor at second, then shortstop Brent Mason lifted a sac fly to plate right fielder Joe Glevenyak, who was hit by a pitch. The top of the order was tough for the second day in a row on Kent. On Friday, the top four hitters were 8-for-16. On Saturday, Ptacek reached first his first four plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored in the lead-off spot.
Frederick, in the second spot, was 2-for-4, scoring two runs and picking up one run-batted-in. Jamieson was 2-for-5, with two doubles, one run and one RBI. Although Glevenyak was 0-for-3, he reached in the first by being hit and walked in the second, scoring one run. Altogether, the top four were 6-15, with three walks, one hit-batsman, two doubles and scoring six of the eight MU runs. Chris Cummings was as tough as the top of the order, picking up his first win of the year to improve to 1-1. Cummings, a Huntington High product, pitched five innings and allowed three runs, all earned, struck out four and walked one. Bryson Meyers pitched a scoreless sixth and gave way to Brendon Bump, who gave up a double to Kent shortstop Emmannuel Burris before setting down seven Flashes in a row.
Bump, however, ran into trouble in the ninth, with MU up 8-3. With one out, he hit KSU's Chuck Moore. Moore was forced on a fielder's choice off the bat of Burriss, but then things got interesting. Burriss took second without a throw, then scored to make it 8-4 on Joe Tucker's hit. Tucker then scored all the way from first when Ptacek dropped the third out at the wall on a routine fly ball that allowed Kent's third baseman Andrew Davis to get to second. Davis moved to third on an infield hit from Saylor and Piepenbrink made the move to Slovak, who picked up his first save on Friday. Pitching coach Tom Carty has decided to see if the side-winder can help the Herd save games and still, with limited pitches in relief, start most conference game threes on Sunday's for Marshall. Slovak gave up an RBI single to Kent DH Kurt Eichorn before closing the door on the 8-6 win by striking out pinch-hitter Andy Hargrove.
Marshall will look to take game three Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at University Heights, located behind the new Wal-Mart on U.S. Route 60, just outside the Huntington city limits. With the temperatures expected to be in the 80s, the crowd could well double the 325 in attendance for Saturday's win. The game will be broadcast on MU's student station, WMUL, and also on the internet at www.marshall.edu/wmul. Marshall will step out of conference to host long-time rival Morehead State on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. before making the 90 minute trip to Athens, Ohio, to battle Ohio next Friday (7:00 p.m.), Saturday (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (1:00 p.m.). Sunday's game will be on 930 AM, WRVC radio, one of the Herd's flagship stations in Huntington, with "The Voice of the Herd," Steve Cotton, calling the play-by-play from Bob Wren Stadium.