CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Eight members of the Thundering Herd baseball team had multiple hits as Marshall erased a nine-run deficit and beat No. 19 Houston 19-13 in a Conference USA series opener Friday at Appalachian Power Park.
Marshall, which improved to 12-17 (2-2 C-USA), trailed 13-4 midway through the fourth before rattling off 13 runs on 11 hits in the fifth and sixth innings, batting around the order in both frames. Houston fell to 23-8 (5-2 C-USA).
The nine-run, come-from-behind victory marked the first time Marshall overcame a deficit of seven or more runs since the team did it at Memphis on March 22, 2009. In that contest, the Herd wiped away Memphis' 7-0, fifth-inning lead and won 8-7.
In Saturday's contest, it took a total team effort as eight Marshall hitters has multiple hits, including Isaac Ballou, Gray Stafford, and Eric Escobedo who had three apiece.
Houston began the game hot, scoring six runs over the first two innings and chasing Marshall starting pitcher Chase Boster after just 2.1 innings. Marshall trimmed the lead in the bottom of the second with a three-run outburst but the Cougars seemed to put the game away when they poured on five runs in the third and another two in the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, Houston led 13-4 and recorded the first out of the inning but saw the next eight Marshall hitters reach base. Among those were Nathan Gomez, who launched a two-run homer to right to make it 13-6, and Sergio Leon, who lifted a three-run shot to right, capping a seven-run fourth that made it 13-11.
With the momentum swayed in its favor, the Herd took the lead for good in the fifth. The inning once against started with eight straight men reaching base after the first out had already been recorded.
Sophomore Eric Escobedo doubled in the tying run with a two-run gapper to left-center, and freshman Chase Vogelbach provided the game-winner with a single up the middle five pitches later.
Escobedo gave Marshall one of two insurance runs in the sixth with another double that scored Stafford from first.
Marshall had seven doubles in the game, including three in the fifth inning.
Kolin Stanley (1-1) was the winning pitcher. The redshirt sophomore, after giving up two (earned) runs in the fourth, set the tone for Marshall's staff by putting the Cougars down in order in the fifth. From there, Matt Margaritonda and Josh King would keep the hot-hitting Cougars scoreless.
Stanley went 2.2 innings with a line of three hits, two (earned) runs, a walk and a career-high four punchouts before Margaritonda entered the game to shut Houston down beginning in the sixth.
Margaritonda ran into trouble in the ninth but received help from King who closed the final door on the Cougars. Margaritonda went 3.1 innings, the longest outing of his career, and struck out a career-high four (three looking).
King entered in the ninth in a bases-loaded, one-out situation and took Marshall out of trouble by striking out both hitters he faced.
Leon finished the game 2-for-5 with a run scored and six RBIs (career high) from the nine-hole. His homer was the second of his career, with the other coming against No. 13 UCF last season.
Ballou was 3-for-6 and extended his string of reaching base to 21 games when he drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the first.
Escobedo and Stafford matched Ballou by going 3-for-6. Escobedo had three RBIs and scored four times.
Marshall out-hit Houston 21-18 in its longest contest of the season, a four-hour, 18-minute affair.
Houston relief pitcher Tyler Ford (2-1) was tagged the loss when he surrendered four (earned) runs on three hits without recording an out.
Six members of the Cougars had multiple hits, including three that notched three, but Houston only managed three hits past the fourth.
First pitch for game two of the series is set for Saturday at 2:05 p.m. when Marshall's Aaron Blair will face Houston's Austin Pruitt.