HUNTINGTON, W. Va.–Marshall baseball returned to action Sunday in its second game of the Wake Forest Baseball Tournament. The Herd faced off against 2013 Colonial Athletic Conference champions Towson, who also made a 2013 NCAA Regional appearance.
Both teams entered the game 1-0, but the Herd fell to 1-1 on the year after an 8-3 defeat.
Towson worked quickly, plating a run in the first after Marshall starter Matt Margaritonda (Freehold, N.J.) gave up two walks and two singles in the first.
The score remained in Towson’s advantage for the rest of the game. A walk and a double in the top of the 3rd gave the Tigers another run.
Marshall first showed offensive signs of life in the bottom of the third after junior Sergio Leon (Miami) singled up the middle and freshman Corey Bird (Elkview, W.Va.) moved him to second with a single down left field. Leon scored on a sacrifice RBI hit from sophomore Aaron Bossi (St. Louis, Mo.)
Two singles and no outs into the fifth inning, Margaritonda was replaced by southpaw Sam Hunter. Hunter threw a scoreless ninth in Saturday’s win against Georgetown, pulling in two strikeouts. On Sunday, Hunter used eight pitches to notch two outs for the Herd, nabbing another strikeout in the process.
Hunter was then replaced by redshirt sophomore Lance Elder (Miami). Elder entered the game for his first bit of live action since 2012, then a freshman starter. The right- hander missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. His first pitch-89 mph strike.
The Tigers scored another run after an Elder walk, going up 3-1 on the Herd.
Marshall would again show some excitement in the bottom of the 6th. Two outs in brought junior Andrew Dundon (Lincoln Park, N.J.) to the plate, who reached on an error. The next two batters, TJ Diffenderfer (Mount Juliet, Tenn.) and Eric Escobedo (Troup, Ga.) were both hit by pitches, loading the bases for designated hitter Chase Vogelbach (Fort Myers, Fla.).
The sophomore had belted a double in his first at bat. With two outs and bases loaded, Vogelbach hit a hard grounder to third and a throwing error allowed both Dundon and Diffenderfer to score. An interference was called against Marshall, and both runs removed. The Herd was back at 3-1.
Towson would again add to the score, belting a double and triple off Herd reliever Clint Wilson (Austin, Texas) to put the score at 4-1.
A lead off double from Matt Reed at the bottom of the 7th brought liveliness back to Marshall’s dugout. Reed advanced to third on a single from Bird, and would go on to score on a Cory Garrastazu (Miami) pinch-hit RBI single through a gap at second.
Garrastazu is 2-3 to begin his collegiate career, both of his hits coming as RBI singles.
“It was good to get another RBI single like that, but hits don’t mean as much in the long run,” Garrastazu said. “It isn’t about my hits or anything like that, it’s about our team and that’s where my focus is at.”
With the score at 4-2 Towson, Bird reached home on a sacrifice fly from Bossi, who has three RBI on the young season.
The Herd started the top of the 8th, trailing 4-3 and yearning to get back in the batter’s box.
A single and three straight walks from the Marshall pitching staff resulted in a four run advantage for Towson. The Tigers would earn another run in the 9th, giving them their second win in as many games.
Until his last at bat, Bird had reached base in every at bat of his college career, with six hits and a walk. The center fielder went 3-4 today with a run.
Marshall used six pitchers during the game; Margaritonda took the loss, scattering six hits over 4 innings and two batters into the 5th.