Marshall continues extra-inning magic
BILOXI, Miss. — Shane Hanon’s single up the middle scored two runs in the 12th inning and lifted Marshall University past Louisiana Tech, 6-4, in a Wednesday game of the Conference USA baseball tournament at MGM Park.
Sixth-seeded Marshall (29-26) moves into a 5 p.m. Thursday game against second-seeded Southern Miss (35-19), a 6-4 winner in 10 innings against Rice. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with a radio broadcast on Huntington stations ESPN 94.1-FM and 930-AM.
Fifth-seeded LA Tech (34-23) and seventh-seeded Rice (24-32) dropped into the loser’s bracket.
The Marshall-LA Tech contest was the longest in C-USA baseball tournament history. At 4 hours, 49 minutes, it topped a 4-hour, 43-minute affair during the 2011 postseason.
Marshall posted an extra-inning victory for the third time in its last four contests.
“Everybody stepped up today,” Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner said in a HerdZone.com release. “I told them they’d have to. There are no roles this time of the year. There’s no closer, no game two or three starter. We’ll do whatever it takes to win and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. That’s how we played today.”
Thundering Herd shortstop Elvis Peralta made a game-saving diving stop for the final out in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Marshall’s at-bat in the 12th inning began with Raul Cabrera reaching base on a fielding error. Geordon Blanton followed with a base hit and Erik Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice that retired Cabrera and moved Blanton to second base. Blanton and Rodriguez both advanced on a wild pitch.
Hanon’s single up the middle delivered two runs and the win.
“It feels good in all honesty,” Peralta said about the team’s resilient performances in the last four games. “When you’re winning games, everyone is believing in each other. Whether you’re winning or your down, everyone is
sticking together and staying hot. I love it.”
Marshall produced one run in the first inning on an error. Luke Edwards tripled to deep right-center field, Blanton hit an RBI double and Hanon had a sacrifice fly for two runs in the second inning. Peralta’s double knocked in a run in the sixth inning.
Thundering Herd starter Joshua Shapiro pitched the first 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out six. Herd relievers Michael Guerrero, D’Andre Knight and Robert Kwiatkowski all pitched before Philip Hoffman came on in the 12th and threw a perfect inning on 10 pitches to earn the first save of his career. Kwiatkowski (2-3) received credit for the win.
Marshall’s 11 hits against six LA Tech pitchers included Peralta going 4-for-6. Hanon had one hit and walked once to extend his on-base streak to 27 games. Blanton went 2-for-6.