WVU Evens MU Series

With more level lineups, West Virginia pounded Marshall 10-2 to even the three-game series with the Herd at one each on Tuesday evening.

In the first game of the split three-game set on Mar. 19, Marshall was able to pitch its ace, Aaron Blair, against the Mountaineers, as it did not have a conference series that weekend. Blair pitched an outstanding game to handcuff WVU, which had to save its top three starters for a weekend series against Texas Tech.

Two weeks later, the Herd was not afforded such a luxury, as they had Houston on tap for a three-game weekend set. West Virginia was in a similar schedule situation, facing a trip to Baylor for a Friday-Sunday series, so the game largely hinged on the abilities of those pitchers stepping in to fill the void. West Virginia came up with the better performance, using four pitchers to scatter five hits while pounding out 13 of their own on the way to the win.

WVU got on the board first in the bottom of the third when catcher Alan Filauro, who has shown renewed hitting prowess recently, smacked a home run to left. The Mountaineers then got a single from Bobby Boyd and a double from Brady Wilson to put two runners in scoring position with one out, but couldn't bring them home in two chances against Herd starter Alex Thackston.

One inning later, though, WVU broke through with some help from the MU defense. Ryan Tuntland singled, and Ryan McBroom got aboard on a error, then both moved up one base on a failed Thackston pickoff attempt. One out later Tuntland was picked off at third, but Filauro came through again with a hit to score McBroom. Taylor Munden waled, and then Boyd and Wilson stroked back-to-back doubles to bring in three more runs and push WVU's lead to 5-0.

Marshall put together its own offensive uprising in the fifth, when Isaac Ballou tripled to right center to drive in two runs and give the Herd life, but WVU pitcher Ryan Hostrander stranded him at third with a strikeout and a lineout to shortstop.

West Virginia extended the lead back to five with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and again it was Filauro providing the big blow. He followed Fleming's leadoff double with his second home run of the game (and third of the year). That blast accounted for two of his four RBI on the afternoon, giving him 16 for the season.

Meanwhile, West Virginia's pitching staff was holding the Herd in check. Starter Dan Dierdorff pitched 3 1/3 innings (he was reported on a pitch count) and Hostrander followed with 1 2/3 innings of work, in which he gave up the two Marshall runs. Ryan Tezak followed with two solid innings in which he allowed just one hit and struck out two, which earned him credit for the win. Josh Harlow and Corey Holmes pitched the eighth and ninth, respectively, with the latter fanning two to end the game.

The Herd sent five pitchers on the hill, but the results weren't as good, as four of them gave up runs. Thackston took the loss after allowing eight hits and five runs in four innings, but only one of those was earned, thanks to the two Marshall errors in West Virginia's four-run fourth.

West Virginia added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final 10-2 score.

The bulk of West Virginia's production came from the top and bottom of the order. Jacob Rice, Matt Frazer and Justin Fox, hitting in the third through the fifth holes, didn't get a hit in 11 at-bats, but Filauro (3-3, two homers and four RBI), Bobby Boyd (3-5, two RBI, two runs) and Brady Wilson (3-5, two RBI) more than filled in the gaps.

WVU (16-13, 3-3) heads back into league play on Friday when it travels to Baylor for a three game weekend series. The first pitch is set for 7:35 p.m. Eastern.

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