May 2, 2014
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A lead-off walk in the bottom of the 10th inning came back to haunt Louisiana Tech, as Marshall executed a walk-off single down the third base line to win, 4-3, over the Bulldogs on Friday night at Power Park.
LA Tech (14-28, 4-18 C-USA) led almost the entire game after scoring two runs in the second inning and an insurance run in the top of the eighth. But it was Marshall (19-24, 9-12 C-USA) that fought back to score three runs in the bottom of the eighth and the game-winner on an RBI single by Eric Escobedo to complete the series opening victory.
"This was a tough one to lose," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "We had a 3-0 lead and were cruising, but they had a bunt in the eighth to get a base runner, and then their big guy popped one to get them back in the ball game.
"They had some huge hits late in the game, and that was the difference in the game. We had seven walks on the day and they had none, so that did not help. Our guys played hard and really good baseball tonight. We just did not finish it off tonight."
Reliever Phil Maton (3-7) was charged with the loss for the Bulldogs after giving up all four Thundering Herd runs on six hits in 4.1 innings on the mound. Maton came on to start the sixth after a quality outing by starter Austin Greer through the first five innings. Greer gave up just one hit and struck out a season-high seven Marshall batters in 5.0 innings of work to receive the no decision.
Kolin Stanley (2-2) earned the win for Marshall after facing one LA Tech batter in the top of the 10th to set up the Herd's victory in the bottom half of the inning. Matt Margaritonda started for Marshall and pitched nine complete innings, while giving up three LA Tech runs on 10 base hits and striking out three. Clint Wilson, Caleb Ross and Stanley each pitched in the 10th for the Herd and combined to strike out the side.
The Bulldogs jumped out on top of Marshall early on in the second inning, starting with a single to right field by Tyler Qualls. Tyler Ervine followed up with a base knock of his own as the senior first baseman sent the first pitch he saw to right field for an RBI double to give LA Tech a 1-0 lead.
With Ervine on second base, Thomas Simoneaux reached safely on a sacrifice bunt after Margaritonda's throw got away from the first baseman, which also allowed Ervine to score from second and make it a 2-0 advantage for the Bulldogs.
Tech added a run in the top of the eighth after back-to-back singles by Ryan Jones and Taylor Love brought up Bre'shon Kimbell, who hit an RBI single to right field for a 3-0 LA Tech lead in the series opener.
The game remained in favor of the Bulldogs until the bottom of the eighth when Sergio Leon reached first on a bunt single to bring up TJ Diffenderfer, who came through with the big bat for the Herd. The Marshall clean up hitter left the yard with a two-run homer, his third of the season, to cut LA Tech's lead to 3-2.
With the inning still alive, Johnathan Beary took first base after being hit by a pitch, before Matt Reed drove in pinch runner Brenden Wells on an RBI single to knot the game at 3-3 after eight innings of play.
After Maton surrendered a lead-off walk to Andrew Dundon in the bottom of the tenth, a sacrifice bunt by Reed gave Marshall the game-winning run on second with just one out in the inning. That is when Escobedo completed the come-from-behind victory with a walk-off RBI single down the left field line to score Dundon from second and give Marshall the win.
Jones led the Bulldogs offensively on the night with a 3-for-5 performance at the dish with a run scored. Ervine added two hits for Tech, including a double, an RBI and a run. Qualls was also 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored, while Kimbell was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Colby Johnson and Taylor Love each had one hit apiece for a total of 10 LA Tech base knocks on the night.
The middle game of the three-game series is scheduled for a 4 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday at Power Park in Charleston. LA Tech will start Richie Navari on the mound, while Marshall will counter with right-hander Michael Taylor.
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