HUNTINGTON — Herd baseball (8-27, 4-19 C-USA) couldn’t overcome the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers’ (22-21, 12-11 C-USA) bats as it fell in both games of Saturday’s double header in Huntington 6-1 and 15-5.
Marshall got the game started on a mean streak. After MU starting pitcher Raymond Pacella threw a hitless top of the first, third baseman Luke Edwards led off with a double to center and right fielder Cyrus Grimes followed with a double down the left field line to score Edwards for a 1-0 Herd lead.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second by Pacella, the Hilltoppers struck for a pair of runs in the third to put MU at a 2-1 disadvantage.
WKU starting pitcher Sean Bergeron retired 11 consecutive batters until Edwards collected a single with one out in the sixth.
The Hilltoppers added four to its lead in the top of the seventh as the Herd couldn’t overcome the 6-1 deficit and fell in game one.
WKU’s Justin Carlin hit a one-out solo homer in the top of the first, but MU starting pitcher Patrick Copen answered with a 1-2-3 in the second.
Designated hitter Kyle Schaefer reached on an error to start the bottom of the second and outfielder Jordon Billups singled. Second baseman Travis Sankovich then singled through the right side to tie the game, 1-1, scoring Schaefer.
The Hilltoppers then added a pair of runs in the next half inning. However, catcher Ryan Leitch recorded a two-RBI single and Schaefer gave Marshall a 4-3 with a run scoring single five pitches later in the bottom of the third.
The hit parade continued in the fourth as WKU added another two runs in the top of the fourth, but an Edwards single to left scored center fielder Josh Pigozzo in the bottom of the inning to even the contest at 5-5.
Relievers Nick Adkins and Ayden Hodges combined to throw scoreless fifth and sixth innings allowing a combined one hit and two walks to keep the game tied.
A 10-run Hilltopper top of the seventh doomed the Herd as Carlin hit his second and third homers of the game, including a grand slam, in the inning.
Marshall looks to salvage a win in the series as the two sides are set to square off for the final time this season at 1 p.m. on Sunday.