Explosive offense guides USM to series win
The Golden Eagles defeated Marshall once in a doubleheader Friday night and closed the series with a win on Sunday to showcase their conference dominance.
“We needed to win this series,” said Head Coach Scott Berry. “We’re at home, and that’s what you have to do, and our guys responded. We never gave in, and we continue to do that. We will win our fair share of games.”
Game one of Friday’s doubleheader went into eleven innings before the Golden Eagles pulled out a 5-3 win.
Daniel Keating helped kickstart the Golden Eagle lead with a solo home run in the first inning. Marshall responded in the fourth inning with a two-run home run that gave them a 2-1 lead.
Marshall managed to take a 3-2 lead, but two home runs from Matt Wallner kept the game tied at 3-3.
After five straight scoreless innings, LeeMarcus Boyd hit a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the eleventh to capture game one.
Wallner finished game one 2-for-3, both hits for home runs, was walked once and had two RBIs. Daniel Keating was 2-for-4 with a home run and one RBI. Boyd was 2-for-5 and had a home run with two RBIs. All five of the Golden Eagles’ runs came from home runs.
In six innings, starting Pitcher Kirk McCarty allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out five. Relief Pitcher Nick Sandlin threw seven career-high strikeouts in four innings and moved his record to 5-0.
After another game of extra innings, the Golden Eagles fell to the Thundering Herd in game two of the doubleheader, 8-7.
After two scoreless innings, Marshall’s pitcher, Wade Martin, found himself in a jam after walking Bryant Bowen and Matthew Guidry hitting a single with one out. Boyd continued to have a hot bat, following the first game, and hit a double to drive in the first run.
Marshall’s pitcher continued to have problems as he walked Dylan Burdeaux in the following at bat. Mason Irby hit a sac-fly and drove in one more run to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Starting pitcher J.C. Keys made some pitching errors later on, which allowed Marshall to tie the game. Yet, Taylor Braley hit his seventh home run of the year to put the Golden Eagles back on top at 3-2.
Wallner hit another home run in the fifth inning to extend the Golden Eagle lead 4-2. This was Wallner’s third home run for the day and his seventh of the season.
In the seventh inning, Marshall did not fade away as it continued to stay alive, picking up one more run to bring the game to 4-3.
The Golden Eagles responded, as Braley and Donaldson each singled to bring back the Golden Eagle lead at 6-3.
As Wallner stepped in as a relief pitcher, he walked a batter and allowed a single in the eighth inning. Marshall capitalized on this and hit a three-run homerun to tie the game 6-6. Wallner continued to have trouble as he loaded the bases up and walked in a run to give Marshall its first lead at 7-6.
Despite the Golden Eagles scoring to force extra innings, Marshall took the win in the top of the tenth by hitting a solo home run to take the win, 8-7.
On Sunday’s game three, the Golden Eagles avenged the doubleheader loss with a 13-3 win.
Burdeaux and Keating led the game off with two back-to-back solo-home runs. Following a Braley walk and a Wallner single, Marshall’s catcher allowed a ball to pass by him which allowed Braley to score. This gave the Golden Eagles an early 3-0 lead.
However, the lead was quickly cut 3-2, after starting pitcher Hayden Roberts allowed a two-out, two-run homerun.
Although he had this one minor hiccup, Roberts only allowed five hits on three runs and struck out seven.
“I was really proud of Hayden Roberts,” Berry said. “He probably pitched with his least best stuff of the year. Marshall [is] a good offensive club, and he limited them to five hits.”
In the third inning, Marshall put itself in a jam after loading the bases with two outs. After three walks in a row, Marshall walked in a Golden Eagle run to make the score 4-2.
Marshall continued to have pitching problems after playing four different pitchers. Marshall walked and hit a total of 11 batters, which allowed a run to score and helped Mason Irby score three more runs on a double. After a single from Donaldson, the Golden Eagles broke the game open in the fourth inning make the score, 8-2.
Marshall tagged another home run to try and chip away at the lead, but it was not enough as the Golden Eagles scored three more times before the ten-run rule ended the contest against Marshall in the eighth inning.
Cooper and Irby both finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Burdeaux was 2-for-4 and also finished with three RBIs.
Despite having a nine-game winning streak being snapped, the Golden Eagles totaled eight home runs on the weekend. The Golden Eagles improved to 19-5 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
“Every game is important,” Berry said. “We don’t want to look ahead to anything but Tuesday night. That’s the most important game on our schedule right now.”
The team will play South Alabama at Pete Taylor Park Mar. 28 at 6 p.m..