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Herd baseball’s Taylor making most of opportunities

On April 29, 2014

Marshall University baseball is not normally known for its recruiting in the state of West Virginia. For this season, there was only one recruit from the state, Corey Bird, who is from Charleston and attended Herbert Hoover High School. Last season, the Herd received sophomore Caleb Ross, a transfer from West Virginia University, who is from Barboursville, and went to Cabell Midland High School. With Ross, came sophomore, Michael Taylor, from St. Albans.Taylor attended St. Albans High School for his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a freshman, Taylor put up impressive numbers, going 9-1 while also earning second team all-state honors. He followed that up with a 5-4 record in his sophomore year, and also earned a spot on the first all-state team.“I learned a lot while I was at St. Albans,” Taylor said. “My teammates there, we grew up playing together ever since we were little, just felt like it was time to get out, and that’s why I decided to go to Virginia and attend Christchurch.”After his tenure at St. Albans, Taylor moved to Virginia and attended Christchurch School for his final two years of high school. His junior year he improved to a 7-3 record. During that year, he averaged an outstanding 21 strikeout/9 innings, and earned once again first team all-state honors. “The way things were ran at Christchurch School was a little different, but a good different,” Taylor said. “It taught me structure and discipline, and it definitely set me straight and made me realize it was time for me to grow up a little bit. It was exactly what I needed and after my junior season, I knew I made the right decision.”In his final season of high school, for the third straight time, he earned first team all-state honors, and also received the Virginia Prep League Player of the Year award after finishing with a 9-2 record.“When I received the Player of the Year award, at that moment, I knew all my hard work was paying off,” Taylor said. “With the decision to go to Christchurch, with my decision to commit to Marshall, everything seemed to be coming together.”After committing to Marshall, Taylor said it was time to get to work.“I made my decision to come to Marshall, not because the closeness to home, but because I knew some of the guys already,” Taylor said. “I have played with Caleb Ross before, and he told me he was transferring here, so it made it a little bit easier with the transition.”In his freshman year with the Herd, he made 13 appearances. Taylor was able to work his way into the weekend rotation in the second half of the season and out of the 13 appearances, 11 of those appearances were weekend starts. After his first four starts, he had a record of 3-1, earning wins against Northern Kentucky, Central Michigan and Radford.“It felt good to earn that spot in the weekend rotation,” Taylor said. “Again, that was just one of those things I had set out to achieve and I earned it and tried to make the best of my opportunities in order to help the team win.”At the end of the season, Taylor’s record was 3-5 with a 4.53 ERA. In total, he struck out 36 batters and walked 28 in 47.2 total innings of work.“There were a lot of ups and downs to my freshman season,” Taylor said. “Some games I was on, some I wasn’t able to get the job done. But I learned a lot and my progression to this year shows it.”So far into 11 games started, Taylor is 2-6, but has a very respectable 2.66 ERA, which puts him third best on the team behind sophomore Chase Boster and senior Josh King. He has given up 21 runs in 61 complete innings of work, and has struck out 33 hitters so far into the season.“I am able to get comfortable earlier in the ball games I feel like, and last season it took me awhile to get into a rhythm,” Taylor said. “This year our defense behind the pitchers has proven themselves that we can trust them to make the plays, and we just need to focus on throwing strikes and producing ground balls and outs.”The Herd is currently 18-24 going into the late second half of the season, as they head to conference tournament time. With only two remaining midweek games, against EKU and WVU, Marshall has three more conference weekend series remaining.The Herd will first host Louisiana Tech May 2-4 and the following weekend they will host Old Dominion May 9-11, and then to wrap up the season will travel to Middle Tennessee May 15-17.Marshall is currently ranked 10th in the conference, behind Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic holding the eight and nine spot.“We know we have to focus and get things done down the stretch,” Taylor said. “Each remaining game is very crucial and we have to come prepared to play.”Derek May can be contacted at may125@marshall.edu.

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