HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— Marshall baseball split a doubleheader against Akron Sunday afternoon at the Kennedy Center. The Zips won the first game, 7-4, but Marshall's offense exploded for an 18-3 win to close the day and win the series, 3-1.
Marshall Splits Double-Header With Akron On Sunday
The Thundering Herd is now 4-10-1 after its first series win of the 2020 season.
Game One: Akron 7, Marshall 4
The Zips jumped out to an early 2-0 lead which stood until the second when Zach Gardiner recorded an RBI groundout to score Zach Inskeep and make the game 2-1. The score would then be 4-1 in the sixth when Inskeep would drive in a run of his own, scoring Jaren Lovely on a single.
In the eighth, with the score now 5-2 Akron, sophomore Luke Edwards hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot scoring Geordon Blanton, to make the game 5-4.
Akron would grab the runs right back in the top of the ninth to put the game away on a two-run homer of their own.
Marshall freshman and Kenova, W.Va. native Cody Sharp (1-1) made his first collegiate start, going 4.0 innings, allowing five hits and three runs, two of which were earned.
Jeffrey Purnell pitched 3.1 hitless innings in his first relief appearance of the season, allowing one earned run.
Peter Hutzal went 2-for-4 with the team lead in hits.
Game Two: Marshall 18, Akron 3
Marshall's bats woke up big time in the series finale. After Akron jumped out to another early 2-0 lead, the Thundering Herd scored nine runs on seven hits in the bottom of the second.
With one out, Jordon Billups doubled, and would score on a Sam Linscott triple, the first three-bagger of the season for Marshall.
Catcher Ryan Leitch, who entered the game defensively in the top of the first due to an injury to Kyle Schaefer, singled to score Linscott and tie the game at 2.
Redshirt junior Peter Hutzal three batters later crushed his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to right field to make the score 5-2.
With the bases cleared, Luke Edwards made it all the way to third base on an unconventional error by the Zips, and would score on a Zach Inskeep single, making the score 6-2.
After a Zach Gardiner walk and a pitching change, Billups then doubled for the second time in the inning. Following that at-bat, Linscott doubled and was thrown out attempting to extend the extra-base hit to his second triple of the inning. The Herd led 9-2 after the frame.
Marshall scored one in the third and fourth innings including Leitch's first collegiate home run, three in the fifth, and then four in the sixth off Geordon Blanton's first career grand slam. It was the first grand slam for a Marshall hitter since Tyler Ratliff in 2016 at Western Kentucky.
Junior John Cheatwood (1-0) earned the win on the mound in his first start as a Marshall pitcher. He went 5.0 innings, allowing three hits and two runs, striking out two.
Blanton and Linscott each had four RBI to lead the way in the second game. Billups, Linscott and Hutzal each had three hits.
The Thundering Herd returns to action Tuesday at 4 p.m. when it travels to Athens to face historic rival Ohio.