The Marshall baseball team has not won a game in over three weeks and looked to get back in the win column Wednesday night facing the last team they beat, the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The Thundering Herd (4-20, 0-13 C-USA), losers of 12-straight since beating WVU (13-14, 4-5 Big 12) in Huntington on March 23, traveled to Morgantown this time for the second of two in-state matchups between the two mountain state teams this season. The rematch went differently than the first meeting, however, as WVU came away with a 9-3 victory.
MU got off to a good start in the top of the first, scoring a run off of WVU starter Jake Carr to take an early 1-0 lead. Marshall sent sophomore Ryan Capuano to the mound and the right-hander pitched a tidy 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to start his day.
Like Marshall, Carr has been looking to get back on the right track this season for the Mountaineers. After a solid showing as a freshman in 2019, Carr began the 2020 season by allowing multiple runs in each of his first six appearances, allowing 27 earned runs in just 13 2/3 innings.
Wednesday’s start was his first since March 20, but after allowing a run in the top of the first, the sophomore lefty settled in. The next three innings were some of Carr’s best work this season, as he held the Herd hitless while striking out three.
“It was good to see him go out there and throw up some zeroes and get some of his pitches back,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said after the game. “He looked a little bit like the Jake Carr of old tonight after the first inning.”
Conversely, after Capuano had a strong first inning, he recorded just one more out before being lifted in the bottom of the second. The Mountaineers started the second inning with a walk and two singles to load the bases before third baseman Kevin Brophy drove in the tying run on a groundout. Capuano’s day was done after he walked the next batter, freshman catcher McGuire Holbrook, to re-load the bases. WVU would cash in one more run on a single by right fielder Austin Davis to go up 2-1.
Capuano’s short outing began a parade of relievers coming out of the Marshall bullpen. All told, the Thundering Herd used eight total pitchers in Wednesday’s game and only two of their seven relievers were able to record more than three outs.
“It’s not that easy as a hitter to face a different pitcher every time out but the odds are in your favor, if the other team throws eight pitchers, that at least one of them’s not going to have that great of a night,” Mazey said. “That gives you an opportunity to score some runs”.
The Mountaineers took full advantage of Marshall’s pitching woes, adding runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings to go up 9-3 entering the eighth. Only two of Marshall’s pitchers did not allow a run as the Herd gave up 11 hits and nine walks in the loss.
“It kind of favors the other team when you do that because it’s hard to have all eight of them throw the ball really well,” Mazey said.
Holbrook led WVU’s defense with a 3 for 3 performance while also scoring a run and drawing a walk. Second baseman Tyler Doanes and Davis both had two hits as Doanes drove in three RBI and Davis two. Finally, left fielder Hudson Byorick drove in two runs with a triple in the fifth inning. Carr (1-2, 11.63) picked up the win, his first of the season as Capuano (1-1, 9.26) was tagged with the loss.
The Mountaineers will stay home and host No. 7 Texas Tech in a three-game series this weekend beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. from Mon County Ballpark.