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Herd hosts Akron and travels to EKU in midweek matchups

On March 31, 2014

The Marshall University baseball team will play host to Akron University Tuesday and will travel to Eastern Kentucky University on Wednesday.

The Herd is coming off a weekend series victory over Tulane, defeating the Green Wave 3-2 on a walk-off hit in the final inning Friday, and a 2-1 victory Saturday. The second game was cut short in the eighth inning along with the rest of the weekend due to inclement weather.

“The series win was huge for us,” sophomore infielder Aaron Bossi said. “It gave us a lot of life and momentum being a conference rival. It also gives us confidence knowing we can win those close games that are decided by one run.”

As of late, the Herd’s offensive production has been down, but the defensive production and keeping the number of errors down in the ball game has been striving, with only committing three errors in its last three games, with wins over Tulane and a loss to Ohio State Wednesday.

“Our defense will continue to get stronger as we progress in the season,” Bossi said. “It’s important for us to keep getting reps of ground balls and fly balls every day to keep us sharp in the field with our fundamentals. It’s frustrating knowing we haven’t been getting it done offensively. It all comes down to the big hit with runners in scoring position. If we can do better with situational hitting and not leaving so many runners on base, we’d have a completely different record than 8-16 right now.”

Pitching for the Herd has also shown much improvement in its last couple of contests. Against Tulane, Marshall’s pitchers only gave up one earned run out of the two games. But one issue that lingers for the Herd is the number of walks produced by the pitching staff. In game one Friday, 12 total walks were allowed between the six pitchers that made appearances throughout the game. In game two of the series, junior pitcher Matt Margaritonda only gave up one walk in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

“The walks have hurt us a little bit not just lately, but throughout the season,” sophomore pitcher Michael Taylor said. “If we can keep the number of walks down, then the outcome of some our games would have been a lot different. Our defense so far has helped out a lot with stepping it up and getting the outs, we just have to do a little better with throwing strikes and producing ground balls and outs.”

The Herd’s game with Akron is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Kennedy Center on Route 2. The Zips come into the game with a 12-11overall record. Marshall’s second midweek game is Wednesday as it travels to EKU, who has a record of 12-15.

Derek May can be contacted at may125@marshall.edu.

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