Marshall Dumps Dayton, 16-6, In Baseball

Marshall had lost six games in a row until picking up a 2-1 win over Akron on Saturday. Then Marshall let a eighth inning lead go by the boards Sunday against the Zips in a 9-8 loss. The Herd had no reason to expect great things on Tuesday when they hosted the Dayton Flyers at University Heights, as UD had taken a 8-1 win in Dayton on March 17 and were down to a magic number of three to win the Atlantic 10. But it was the Herd bats and pitching that looked like league winners in a 16-6 romp.

Twelve Marshall (15-28, 7-11 Mid-American Conference) batters recorded hits and ten of them batted in runs. Sophomore catcher Nick Wolle led the team with three hits (matching Saturday's performance against Akron), picking up a double and two runs-batted-in. Wolle has reached base in nine of his last 13 official at-bats, plus a sac bunt. Junior first baseman Roddy Stieger continued his hot hitting by going 2-4 with his fifth home run of the season, scoring two runs and a recording a team-leading three RBI. The 16 runs marked a season high for the Herd, topping its previous high of 14 against Eastern Michigan in March. It has been over two years since the Herd has mustered up this many runs, back to a 19-2 win over Western Michigan in 2003.

Dayton (26-20; 11-7 Atlantic 10) saw MU freshman Andrew Hancock, who pitched scholastically in nearby Ashland, Kentucky, for Paul Blazer High School, pick up his second win on the year with six innings of nine hit, five run pitching for a freshman who entered the game with a 9.48 earned run average. The big blow against Hancock was a third inning three run home run by right fielder Brian Godzik that allowed Dayton to come back from a 5-1 MU lead. Marshall answered Dayton with single runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to give Hancock a two-run cushion.

Marshall then turned to another Bluegrass frosh in reliever David Slovak, out of Louisville, who was dominating the rest of the way. Slovak picked up his third collegiate save with three innings of five strikeout, two-hit and one run baseball to shutdown the Flyers, who entered the game hitting .309 as a team. Slovak would get plenty of support from his teammates, as the Herd scored four runs in the seventh and added five more in the eighth inning.

Included in the seventh were Stieger's two-run homer and a RBI triple, his team-leading third of the year, for junior shortstop Brent Mason. In the eighth, Coach Dave Piepenbrink cleared the bench, but the reserves lit up Dayton reliever Phil Ernst for five runs in the inning. Pinch-hitters included Barboursville sophomore outfielder Chris Peak (1-2, double, run); Milton freshman outfielder Derek Hagen (1-1, run); and senior shortstop Marshall Murray (1-1, RBI single, run). Recording multi-hit games for MU was junior third baseman Adam Frederick (2-5, 2 RBI, run, stolen base); senior right fielder Joe Glevenyak (2-5, RBI, 2 runs); senior left fielder Brad Helm (2-4, RBI, 2 runs, stolen base); Stieger and Wolle. Junior centerfielder Adam Ptacek was 1-for-3, with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Marshall flashed the leather as well, turning two double plays, in the second and sixth. That gives MU seven double plays in the last four games, plus two runners picked off. two caught stealing and one runner thrown out at the plate over the last 36 innings.

On Wednesday, May 11, MU will travel to Morehead State for a 6:00 p.m. game with the Eagles, the 122nd meeting all-time between MU and MSU. The Herd will return home for a three-game series against Ball State over the weekend, the final home series of the year and Marshall's final Mid-American Conference action in Huntington before joining Conference USA on July 1, 2005.

On Sunday, the five seniors (Glevenyak, Helm, Murray, infielder Josh McConnell and pitcher Mike Marchyshyn) on the team will be recognized prior to the game for Senior Day. Friday's opener against the Cardinals is set for a 3:00 p.m. start time at University Heights, located behind the new Wal-Mart Superstore on US Route 60 East just outside the Huntington city limits. Saturday's and Sunday's games are at 1:00 p.m. and, depending on the Cabell Midland-Hurricane games in the WVSSAC High School Baseball Sectionals, WRVC 930-AM will carry either the game on Saturday (if either high school teams wins in two games) or Sunday (if a game three takes place Saturday at 1:00 p.m.).

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