Huntington, W.Va. – Another Conference USA road trip will begin for the Marshall baseball team on Friday when it goes to Orlando, Fla., for a three-game set against UCF at Jay Bergman Field.
All three games of the series can be followed through CBS GameTracker and the Herd All-Access video stream found at HerdZone.com.
Game times/probable starters:
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
LHP Wayland Moore (2-1, 4.56) vs. LHP Chris Matulis (4-2, 2.33)
Saturday, 4 p.m.
RHP Aaron Blair (5-2, 2.40) vs. RHP Ben Lively (5-3, 1.09)
Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
RHP Michael Taylor (3-3, 3.38) vs. TBA
Marshall (13-22, 3-6 Conference USA) leads UCF (20-18, 6-6 C-USA) 12-9 in the all-time series but has lost each of the last two series. Last season, the Thundering Herd lost a ninth-inning lead to the 13th-ranked Knights in game one but responded with a 9-6 victory in game two to even the series. Sergio Leon, who batted .500 (7-for-14) in the series, and Gray Stafford both hit three-run homers in last year’s middle game at Appalachian Power Park.
In 2011, Aaron Blair and Josh King combined to shut out the Knights, 6-0, in the series opener, but UCF climbed back to win games two and three 13-10 and 8-1.
All 21 meetings between the two clubs have come through regular season Conference USA action. UCF holds a 5-4 edge when playing in Orlando.
Herd senior Isaac Ballou enters the series with 117 career walks which is three shy of the Marshall record (120 set by Josh Valle in 2010). Further, Ballou rides a 27-game reached-base streak and a 12-game hitting streak. Reaching base in games one and two of the series with the Knights would match his career long of 29 which he did beginning with the last two games of his freshman season.
Ballou is batting .380 during the last 27 games and ranks second for Marshall on the season with a .321 average. Sophomore Andrew Dundon remains Marshall’s hitting leader at .328. Dundon ranks sixth in C-USA batting average.
Friday’s series opener will see Herd senior Wayland Moore face Chris Matulis in a lefty-vs-lefty matchup. On Saturday, right-handed pitchers Blair and Ben Lively will square off.
Blair, who turned in a quality start in last year’s meeting against No. 13 UCF, has thrown quality starts in each of his last six appearances. His only loss during that time was last weekend at Southern Miss when the Herd was defeated 4-1.
Lively, Blair’s counterpart on Saturday, is the league’s leader in earned run average (1.09). In 66.1 innings of work, Lively has conceded just eight earned runs (12 total) while punching out 63 opposing hitters (fifth in C-USA).
Lively and Blair have five wins on the season which is tied for fourth-best in the conference.
UCF catcher Chris Taladay bats .362 with 11 doubles, 28 runs, and 33 RBI’s on the season. His .362 average is second in C-USA to UAB’s John Frost (.372).
Taladay and centerfielder JoMarcos Woods have scored 28 times (third best in C-USA), ranking one behind Ballou in times crossing the plate.
As a club, UCF has scored 199 runs which are second only to Houston (216) in C-USA. UCF’s 24 home runs on the season are tops among league members.
In conference action, UCF boasts a sweep over UAB and a series victory over Rice. Conversely, the Knights lost their series with Southern Miss before being swept by Memphis. The sweep at Memphis was part of a string of six straight defeats for UCF and is the primary reason for the eight losses in their last 10 games.
-Courtesy of Marshall Sports Information