HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Erik Rodriguez’s career day at the plate helps lead Marshall baseball (16-9, 5-2 C-USA) to a 13-3 victory in game one of a three-game series against Middle Tennessee at the Kennedy Center YMCA on Friday.
“We had a tough mid-week game and we didn’t play to our ability against West Virginia, but when we came back on Thursday the guys came with energy and focus at practice,” 13th-year head coach Jeff Waggoner said. “It showed today. They bounced back quickly. You have to have a short memory in this game and they did today. (Joshua) Shapiro came out and kept us where we needed to be to win the game and our offense stayed to an approach we talked about with their starter and they executed it.”
Marshall struck out a season-low four times in the win as Rodriguez went four-for-five at the plate with eight runs-batted-in.
“My swing has felt great. I try to make adjustments at the plate every at-bat and do what I can to help the team,” Rodriguez commented on his big day at the plate.
“We talked about cutting down on our strikeouts before the game. Then Erik put good swings on the ball, had great at-bats and led the way,” Waggoner said.
The Blue Raiders started the game hot with a double and a homer to take a 2-0 lead with no outs in the top of the first. Herd starter Joshua Shapiro settled in and retired the next 10 batters in order.
Marshall got on the board in the bottom of third as Rodriguez smacked a single up the middle to score a pair of runners and tie the game, 2-2. A couple of batters and outs later, Reynaldo Pastrana recorded a two-out two-RBI triple to put the Herd up 4-2.
Shapiro walked in a run in the top of the fourth, but the Herd picked him up with a pair of runs on a Rodriguez double to extend the lead to 6-3.
Marshall struck for its second four-run inning of the game in the bottom of the fifth on a Pastrana homerun and a three-RBI triple by Rodriguez to lead the Blue Raiders 10-3.
Shapiro finished his outing with 1-2-3 innings in both the sixth and seventh innings, aided by a pair of nice outfield plays by Luke Edwards and Rodriguez in the seventh. The redshirt-senior lefty finished his seven-inning outing giving up three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four Middle Tennessee batters to earn his fourth win of the season.
The Herd piled on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI triple by Geordon Blanton, a run-scoring single by Rodriguez and a RBI single by Zach Inskeep.
Bryan Callaly closed out the game with two scoreless innings, including ending the eighth by stranding the bases loaded.
- Today was Marshall’s 12th game of 10 or more hits.
- The Herd tied a season-high with three triples in today’s game.
- Edwards recorded the first multi-hit effort of his Marshall career.
- Tucker Linder extended his hit streak to 10 games joining Zach Inskeep as the lone Herd hitters to have double-digit hit streaks this season.
- Pastrana has hit a home run in three of the last five games, hitting one in each of the last three conference contests.
- Rodriguez had a career-high eight RBI in the game. He had eight total in the previous 23 games.
- Pastrana collected his third multi-RBI game of the season, while Rodriguez had his second such game.
- Every Herd starter had at least one hit, with six having multi-hit games.
Marshall looks to take the series in game two on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m.