Herd Baseball Welcomes UAB for C-USA Opening Weekend

The Marshall University baseball team welcomes the UAB Blazers for the Conference USA series opener, beginning Friday at Power Park in Charleston. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. MU sports an 8-11 record, while UAB sits at 11-9 on the season.

Friday – 6 p.m.
MU: RHP Shane Farrell (2-0, 3.29 ERA)
UAB: RHP Dillon Napolean (2-1, 2.10 ERA)

Saturday – 7 p.m.
MU: LHP Mike Mason (1-2, 4.78 ERA)
UAB: RHP Ryan Wolley (3-2, 2.83 ERA)

Sunday – 1 p.m.
MU: RHP Arik Sikula (1-3, 4.24 ERA)
UAB: RHP Michael Busby (0-1, 6.30 ERA)

>UAB owns an 11-8 advantage in the all-time series.

>MU is 8-7 vs. the Blazers since joining C-USA in 2005-06. 
>The Herd took two-of-three in Birmingham in 2010.

>OF Isaac Ballou had a solid series vs. the Blazers in 2010, batting .400 (4-for-10), collecting a double, triple and homer.

>RHP Arik Sikula posted a quality start to defeat the Blazers on a Sunday afternoon affair allowing four runs (3ER) on five hits with five walks and four strikeouts. MU won 14-4 in seven innings.

>INF Victor Gomez has two homers and seven RBI in his 9 career games vs. UAB.
>The Herd outhit UAB .288 (30-for-104) to .218 (19-for-88) last eason. The Blazers did draw 25 walks to just 12 by MU batters.

Last weekend, the power showed up for the Marshall bats lighting up the scoreboard with six round trippers in three games against St. Bonaventure in Beckley. Entering the weekend battle with the Bonnies, the Herd had only connected for five homers in 16 games. Of the six homers launched, Rhett Stafford and Steven Ross each hit a pair. As a team, MU hit .337 (34-for-101) for the series to help up the overall season batting average to .272.

Player to Watch: Victor Gomez, 1B
During his first three seasons as a member of the Herd, Gomez has tormented C-USA pitchers to the tune of a career .367 batting average (104-for-283), including 25 homers and 79 RBI in 72 league games. The most feared batter in the MU lineup is due for a breakout power surge at the dish. In 2011, the Miami, Fla., native is hitting .304 (24-for-79) with a homer and 14 RBI. 

The Blazers are coming off a 6-3 midweek loss to Alabama after sweeping UT Martin in a three-game set last weekend. UAB won all three games by two runs or fewer, including a 2-1 12 inning contest on Saturday.

The pitching staff has been extremely effective over the first 20 games, as the club owns a team ERA of 3.46. Leading the arms has been Friday night scheduled starter Dillon Napoleon who has struck out 33 batters in 34.1 innings, while only issuing eight free passes. He is holding opponents to a .211 batting average against him. Closer Ryan Nance has been almost unhittable, registering 17 strikeouts in 11.2 innings, while surrendering only five hits. He owns a 1-0 record with four saves in eight appearances out of the bullpen.

Player to Watch: Patrick Palmerio, 3B
The son of former MLB all-star Rafael Palmerio, Patrick leads the Blazers in RBI (14) and is tied with a team-best two homers. He has cemented himself as the cleanup hitter in the UAB lineup.

GameTracker and live video streaming will be available for all three games of the series by logging onto HerdZone.com. WRVC will provide radio broadcasts on 930 AM and 94.1 FM for Friday and Sunday’s contests with the Voice of the Herd Steve Cotton on play-by-play along with Woody Woodrum as the analyst. Fans can also tune into 88.1 FM or log onto HerdZone.com to hear the WMUL broadcast.

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