Solid Pitching and Homers Help Baseball Defeat ECU, 7-1

Thor Meeks laced three extra-base hits, Nathan Gomez roped a pinch-hit three-run homer and Mike Mason produced a quality start as the Marshall University baseball team defeated East Carolina, 7-1 on Saturday at Appalachian Power Park.

Marshall (18-25, 5-12 C-USA) pounded out 13 hits, led by Kenny Socorro’s 4-for-4 day at the dish, tying a career-high. Meeks notched a career-best with three hits, two doubles and a two-run homer, while N.Gomez added a career-best four RBI to go along with his two hits off the bench.

Gray and Rhett Stafford each ripped a pair of base knocks in the victory in front of MU starter Mike Mason.

Mason (3-3) produced his fourth quality start of the season, working into the seventh before being pulled for reliever Jesse Fernandez. Mason finished with 6+ innings pitched with six strikeouts, scattering six hits and six walks.

ECU (29-17, 10-10 C-USA) stranded 15 base runners in the loss. John Wooten paced the Pirates’ offense with two doubles as part of a 2-for-5 day at the dish. He scored the lone ECU run.
Starter Kevin Brandt was tagged with the loss, dropping to 5-3 on the year. The lefty gave up four earned runs off eight hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out six and walked two.

The Herd cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the second when G.Stafford laced a two-out single prior to Meeks coming to the dish for his first at bat of the day.  The Hurricane native launched a two-run bomb to right-centerfield to break the scoreless tie, his fourth big fly of the year.

The Pirates stranded a runner in every inning, including someone in scoring position in seven of nine frames. The biggest threat for ECU against the lefty came in the fourth when the bases became loaded thanks to two hits and a walk. Mason was able to gear up and strikeout the Pirates’ leadoff hitter Ben Fultz to escape with the two-run lead still intact.
In the top of the sixth, ECU loaded the bases again, but only managed a sac fly from Fultz for the lone run of the game. Mason ended another Pirates’ attack with a strikeout, his sixth of the evening.
Victor Gomez drew a walk to begin the bottom half of the sixth and later moved to third on Meeks’ second double of the day. The third extra-base hit of the game from Meeks, chased ECU starter Brandt from the contest in favor of reliever Seth Simmons. Head coach Jeff Waggoner countered the move by pushing the right buttons and called on N.Gomez off the bench to pinch hit. The lefty roped a full count, two-out pitch to right-center for a three-run bomb to break the game open, 5-1.

Marshall added a run in the seventh on a sac fly from Victor Gomez, marking the 200th RBI of his career with the Herd. 

N. Gomez brought home G.Stafford on a single to center in the eighth to round out the scoring for the day.

Out of the bullpen, Jesse Fernandez fired the final three innings to pick up his first save of the season. The burly righty kept the Pirates from scoring during the last third of the game, giving up just three hits, with striking out two.

NEXT UP: The two squads will play the rubber match on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. at Power Park.

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