LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Through three innings, Marshall’s baseball team held a two-run lead and kept eighth-ranked Kentucky hitless, but the Wildcats scored eight unanswered runs and defeated the Thundering Herd 8-2 in a Wednesday afternoon contest at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Marshall will enter Conference USA play at the end of the week with a record of 10-13. Kentucky improved to 19-5.
Andrew Dundon finished the game 3-for-5 and got things going for Marshall in the top of the first, singling and scoring to give freshman starter Alex Thackston the early edge. In the third, Dundon found himself on the front end of a hit-and-run that set up an RBI groundout by senior Nathan Gomez to give MU a 2-0 lead.
Thackston kept Kentucky hitless through three but was lifted after three and two-thirds when things started to unravel in the fourth. The southpaw, who had already given up two walks, walked the leadoff batter of the fourth then saw back-to-back two-out singles score two runs and even the game at 2-2. Neither of the runs Thackston gave up was earned.
Matt Margaritonda (0-4) relieved Thackston in the fourth and, despite taking the Herd out of the early jam, suffered the loss when he conceded five (earned) runs over the next two innings.
Marshall’s offense put runners on base in every inning past the fifth, including working runners to first and second in the sixth and loading the bases in the seventh, but never managed to cut into the UK lead.
Led by Dundon’s ninth multihit game of the season, the Herd outhit UK 10-8. Dundon ranks second to Isaac Ballou’s 10 in multihit games this season.
Ballou was 0-for-3 but drew a pair of walks and scored once. Eric Escobedo finished 2-for-4 while freshman David Diaz-Fernandez went 2-for-3 in his third start behind the dish.
Kentucky reliever Kyle Cody (2-0) claimed the winning decision after limiting Marshall to one hit across the fourth and fifth.
Shortstop Matt Reida and catcher Greg Fettes each had two hits to lead the Wildcats.
Marshall will be at home for its C-USA opener Friday through Sunday for a three-game bid with UAB (10-14, 0-3 C-USA). Friday’s first pitch, originally scheduled for 7 p.m., will be delivered at 4 p.m.