Herd Baseball Wins Five Hour Battle in Extras

Updated 3 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Marshall baseball earned a hard fought victory in the final game of the series at Florida A&M with a 11-9 win in 12 innings. The Herd scored three runs in the final inning to deliver its first win of the season.

Marshall moves to 1-2 on the year, while Florida A&M falls to 2-1.

The Herd started off the game strong with a two-run first inning. Corey Bird (Elkview, W.Va.) worked himself a lead-off walk and then went on to steal second. Bird came around to score when Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.) singled through the left side. After Finfer stole second, Tommy Lane (Pendleton, Ore.) singled to right center to score Finfer. Marshall held Florida A&M scoreless in the bottom of the first.

The bats of Florida A&M heated up once again in the bottom of the second as it put six runs across the plate, which came from seven hits, including two doubles.

Marshall was able to get a run back in the top of the third with some small ball. DJ Gee (Seattle, Wash.) reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. During the following at-bat, Gee stole second and then advanced to third on a groundout by Finfer. Tyler Ratliff (Alexandria, Va.) drove in Gee with a single to the shortstop.

In the sixth inning, Cory Garrastazu (Miami) led off with a home run to right field, his second of the series.

The Herd’s bats came alive in the eighth, as it was able to put four runs on the board and take a two run lead. Aaron Bossi (St. Louis, Mo.) got things started for Marshall with a single to center field. Garrastazu followed as he was hit by a pitch. Marshall was able to get the bases load when Reynaldo Pastrana (Miami) reached on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by the pitcher. Ryne Dean (Fresno, Calif.) came in as a pinch-hitter and delivered with a fielder’s choice RBI as Bossi scored from third. Bird tied the game at six with a single to left field that scored Garrastazu. In the next at-bat, Gee singled through the left side to score Andrew Zban (Huntington, W.Va.) to give Marshall the lead. Finfer ended the scoring for the Herd with a groundout to third that scored Bird.

Florida A&M went on to respond in the following inning, as it would push two runs across to tie the game at eight.

In the bottom of the ninth, FAMU had a runner on second with no outs, but Fernando Guerrero (Elizabeth, N.J.) was able to strikeout two batters and force the other one to fly out to center field, which forced extra innings.

After two scoreless extra innings, Marshall found its spark in an unlikely hero. Senior pitcher Sam Hunter (Ashland, Ky.) came to the plate for the first time ever in his collegiate career. Hunter singled to left field with two strikes. After Bird earned a walk, a throwing error by the Florida A&M catcher allowed Hunter to score from second and Bird advanced to third. Finfer once again gave the Herd some breathing room with a single to right field that scored Bird. In the next at-bat, Ratliff singled through the left side to score Finfer.

With a three-run lead in tack, Marshall went to freshman Joshua Shapiro (Columbus, Ohio) to the close out the game. Shapiro allowed one run in the final inning, but was able to force a double play and struck out the final batter to clinch the two-run victory for the Herd.

Marshall finished the game with 16 hits, the most since last season at Miami (OH) on April 1, 2015. Leading the way for the Herd was Finfer and Garrastazu with three hits.

On the mound for the Herd was eight pitchers. Heston Van Fleet (Kingsville, Texas), Ratliff, Caleb Ross (Barboursville, W.Va.), Guerrero and Hunter combined for eight scoreless innings and only two hits. Earning the win was Hunter, picking up his third of his career.

Up next, Marshall travels to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the ‘Baseball at the Beach’ weekend. The Herd will face Liberty and Coastal Carolina on Friday, Feb. 26 and then Liberty again on Saturday.


Quotes from Coach Jeff Waggoner

On the weekend and winning today:

“It was good to get down here to start our season. We had great weather with an opportunity to get three games in. We have to learn a lot from our mistakes, but it was good to get out of here with a win today. The guys battled, we were down 6-2 in the second inning and they came back and found a way to win the game. So, the positive side, we were able to find a way to win a game down here and now we have to go back to practice and work on the things we need to fix to become a better team.”

On Sam Hunter’s performance Sunday

“Sam came in as a senior and did what he was supposed to do. He kept us right where we needed to be, and he add a big hit, his first career hit, which was a lot of fun. We really appreciate his effort and he was prepared to come in and get the job done.
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