Catcher Rich Russell went 3-for-5 and fell a triple shy of the cycle while hitting a three-run home run and driving in four runs for Marshall. Willie Walker hit two homers and drove in five runs for Ohio. In his first outing of the season after an injury, Chris Cummings, a senior from Huntington, pitched two innings of scoreless relief to win his first game of the season. Brian Knippelmeyer tossed the final 1.1 innings to earn his fourth save, one more than any Herd pitcher had last season. Zeke Isaacs (0-1) took the defeat for the Bobcats.
Marshall (12-13) got off to a good start with two runs in the first inning. With one out, Frederick singled and moved to third on a Russell single. A walk to first baseman Brendan Murphy loaded the bases. With two outs, shortstop Aaron Levinson ripped a 3-2 pitch to left to score Frederick and Russell and give Marshall a 2-0 lead. Herd pitcher Tom Ponietowicz struggled with his control in his first start for the Herd and walked in a run after walking two batters and hitting another.
The Herd added two runs in the bottom of the second on run-scoring doubles by centerfielder Adam Ptacek and Russell. Marshall continued to increase its lead in the fourth inning. Ptacek and Frederick led off with singles and Russell followed with a home run to right center, a rocket which ricocheted off the light pole. The Herd added a run in the fifth on an RBI single by designated hitter Tommy Johnson, pushing the Marshall lead to 8-1.
Ohio cut a big chunk out of the lead in the bottom of the fifth, as Walker clubbed a three-run homer to right center off Ponietowicz. Enter Cummings, who shut down the Bobcats in the rest of the fifth and sixth. The Bobcats cut the lead further in the seventh inning, as Walker crushed a two-run homer off MU reliever Andrew Hancock to slice the lead to 8-6. Knipplemeyer entered in the eighth and picked up the save, leaving him just two saves from tying the MU record of six in a season, set by another Huntington High product in 2004, Chris Meadows.
Marshall returns to Conference USA action at 2 p.m. Friday, playing host to the Tigers of Memphis (14-13/3-3 in C-USA) at Appalachian Power Park. The game will be part of a doubleheader with the single-A West Virginia Power, who play at 7 p.m. against the Delmarva Shorebirds and there will be fireworks after the minor league game. Tickets for all Conference USA games at Appalachian Power Park are on sale now by calling 1-800-THE-HERD or logging on to www.herdzone.com. One ticket is good for admission to both games. The teams will also play Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., both of which are doubleheaders with the Power and Shorebirds. Marshall football will also practice in Charleston on Saturday at Noon, setting up a triple-header for area sports fans in the Kanawha Valley. MU football will work out at University of Charleston Stadium, formerly known as Laidley Field, just five blocks from Appalachian Power Park.