Due to heavy rain forecasts expected over the weekend, the three-game Conference USA
series between WKU and Marshall will now begin Friday, April 13 with a doubleheader
beginning at 3 p.m., with 45 minutes in-between games. The schedule for the final
game is currently TBA.
Coming off four consecutive games against ranked opponents, it does not get any easier this weekend for WKU Baseball.
The Thundering Herd leads the all-time series against WKU, 12-9, including an 8-1
mark in Conference USA play over the past three years. Going into the 2015 season,
the Hilltoppers had gone 8-4 against Marshall in 12 games played from 1992-99.
Marshall has swept WKU in back-to-back series; in Bowling Green in 2016 and in West
Virginia in 2017. Last year’s set was supposed to be played at Appalachian Power
Park in Charleston, but with questionable weather patterns it was moved to Kennedy
Center Field at a YMCA recreation location in Huntington.
The first two games were one-run decisions, with the Hilltoppers falling by scores
of 3-2 and 10-9. The Thundering Herd then held the Hilltoppers to three hits in an
8-0 win on Sunday.
In Game 1, starter Ryan Thurston went a season-high eight innings as WKU and
Marshall entered the ninth inning tied 2-2. The lefty was lifted in the ninth after
allowing a leadoff double and walk, then reliever Jackson Sowell allowed a walk-off
single to catcher Reynaldo Pastrana in the 3-2 defeat.
In Game 2, catcher Hunter Wood went 3-for-4 with four RBI and right fielder Thomas
Peter went 3-for-5 with a homerun. Wood became the second player in Division I in
2017 to homer from both sides of the plate, including a two-run shot as a righty in
the eighth inning to make it a one-run game. But still, WKU fell just shy in a 10-9
Although the Thundering Herd was swept in a home-and-home by Virginia Tech (L, 11-3
in Blacksburg and L, 11-9 in Charleston) in midweek, they swept C-USA foe Middle
Tennessee on the road the weekend prior. For the season, Marshall stands at 14-15,
including a 4-8 record in league play.
The visitors are expected to go with the same starting rotation that swept the Blue
Raiders last weekend in righty Brad O’Connor, lefty Joshua Shapiro and righty Zac
McNeel. That trio earned all three wins in the series, allowing only four earned
runs in 20.2 innings.
At the plate, right fielder Shane Hanon leads the club with a .358/.456/.462 slash
line, and three of his five extra-base hits on the season have come in the past
week. The returning backstop, Pastrana, is a power threat with a team-high .525
slugging percentage. His 15 extra-base hits and 28 RBI lead the Thundering Herd
Defensively, the Thundering Herd pitchers and catchers have slowed down opponents’
run games, allowing only 10 stolen bases on 17 attempts. However, Marshall ranks
11th in C-USA with a .960 fielding percentage, with 42 errors in 29 games.
The Hilltoppers’ probable starters in the game notes reflects previous series. WKU’s
weekend rotation remains TBA at this time.