Baseball sees strong individual performances against Marshall

The baseball team won two of their three games at Marshall, along with the program’s first tie in 17 years.

Kyle Warner has held opposing batters to a .188 average this season and the senior currently leads the team with a 2.14 Earned run average (ERA). Photo courtesy of Dean Bogart/GoGriffs.com.

Baseball saw good performances from individual players as they had their best weekend of the season last weekend against Marshall, earning two wins on top of the program’s first tie since 2003.

In the first game of the series that resulted in a 3-2 win, it was Kyle Warner who came up big on the mound. He scattered two runs on four hits across a career-high eight innings, and did it while only striking out three Marshall hitters. With the performance, he picked up his second win of the season and lowered his season ERA to 2.14.

“Early on, I actually didn’t find much success with my pitches, I was missing my fastball up and away, but (pitching) coach Brandon (Bielecki) came over and got me focused in on getting the ball down,” Warner said. “And I found more success after that.”

On the offensive side of the ball, it’s been a struggle for the team to find clutch hits. They got one in the second game of the series, a triple off the bat of Stephen Bennett in the 13th inning that gave the Griffs a 10-9 lead in a game they would eventually win 11-9.

“Throughout the at-bat I saw the off-speed and I was able to see it better my second at-bat against him so I just wanted to battle and try to do whatever I could do to get that run in,” Bennett said.

He added on it being in extra innings, “At that point, I didn’t feel as much pressure if it would have been in the ninth inning and we needed that run to tie the game or something like that. To me, it being in the 13th inning, it felt like just another at-bat.”

Having quality at-bats is something that the coaching staff preaches to its players if they want a chance at winning games consistently, and is something that the staff felt the team got better with in these three games but still have improvements to make.

“We always shoot for 50% quality at-bats. If you get to 50%, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win no matter what the pitching performance is. We had one of those games this weekend, and the other two were under 50,” head coach Matt Mazurek said. “We still need to be better offensively, collectively.”

The third game of the series, which was after the 13-inning game, ended in a 2-2 tie, the program’s first tie since the 2003 season.

It was scheduled to be a seven-inning game and was tied at two after seven innings. The Griffs scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to make it 3-2. The inning ended at 6:24 p.m., with sunset going to happen at 6:25 p.m., and without lights they couldn’t play much longer but would try to get the inning completed.

After the first pitch of the half inning, a Marshall player complained that he couldn’t see the ball and bought the game some time, and they called the game after the first out was made and per NCAA rules, the game was reverted back to 2-2, the program’s first tie since a 3-3 draw against St. Bonaventure on April 16, 2003, another game which was called due to darkness.

“It was annoying, but with the time and everything it was just inevitable,” Mazurek said.

With the team now 3-8-1, they will play three games at Radford, one game each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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