BECKLEY, W.Va. -- Thundering Herd senior Alfredo Brito drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh and helped Marshall’s baseball team come from behind to defeat rival West Virginia 6-5 in the exciting series finale at Linda K. Epling Stadium Tuesday night.
Marshall won the season series in front of a crowd of 2,103 and improved to 20-31 (6-15 Conference USA). West Virginia dropped to 30-23 (12-9 Big 12).
Brito delivered Marshall’s fifth double of the game (and second of the inning) on a 2-1 pitch with runners on second and third in a 5-4 ballgame. His shot over the head of WVU right fielder Chris Rasky gave Marshall its first lead of the contest and rounded out the scoring of a three-run surge in the seventh.
The seventh inning started with a leadoff double by Andrew Dundon followed by a walk to Gray Stafford and a base hit from Isaac Ballou which loaded the bases. After Nathan Gomez sac-flied Dundon home to make it 5-4, Eric Escobedo was struck out in an eight-pitch at-bat that ended with Stafford and Ballou using a double steal to advance to second and third.
Brito provided the game-winning hit three pitches later.
Brito finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI’s while Ballou was 3-for-4 with three runs, two doubles, and a stolen base.
West Virginia got off to a quick start, plating a run on a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI-single in the top of the first to go ahead 1-0. Marshall knotted the game back at 1-1 when Ballou doubled with two out then scored on a Gomez single up the middle in the bottom half.
The Mountaineers struck back with three runs in the top of the second and threatened for more as they chased starting pitcher Alex Thackston after just an inning of work. But Herd reliever Chase Boster kept WVU guessing, scattering five hits across five innings of scoreless relief. Boster issued a walk and struck out three while watching Marshall claw back with a run in the third and another in the fifth.
In the third, another Ballou double led to a run as the senior moved to third on Gomez’s groundout then scored on an Escobedo sac fly.
In the fifth, Marshall cut the lead to 4-3 when Gomez kept the inning alive with a two-out double down the right field line. Gomez scored on the very next pitch as Escobedo roped a single to right.
West Virginia added an insurance run in the seventh via a two-out RBI-double, but Marshall put three runs across in the bottom half.
Gomez and Escobedo were each 2-for-3 with two RBI’s. Gomez also scored a run. Marshall’s 3-4-5-6 hitters consisting of Ballou, Gomez, Escobedo, and Brito combined to go 9-for-14 (.643) with four doubles in the victory.
The winning pitcher was Ryan Hopkins (4-2) who threw three pitches in the seventh and ended another scoring threat by the Mountaineers.
Junior Josh King finished the game and collected the save, his team-leading sixth of the season. Hopkins, middle reliever Matt Hummel, and King combined to retire the last seven WVU hitters.
West Virginia reliever Josh Harlow (0-2) took the loss, giving up three (earned) runs on three hits and a walk in 1.2 innings.
Marshall will conclude the regular season with a three-game series at No. 20 Rice (34-17, 12-9 C-USA). Games will run Thursday through Saturday with start times of 7:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m., respectively. All times are eastern.