April 6, 2013
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A much anticipated pitchers’ duel on Saturday between Houston and Marshall lived up to expectation as the Thundering Herd was able to come away with a 4-0 win over the Cougars to take the series at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va.
|No. 19 Houston
Win: Aaron Blair (5-1)
Loss: Austin Pruitt (6-2)
The loss dropped Houston to a 23-9 overall record and a 5-3 mark in C-USA play, while Marshall improved to 13-17 and 3-2 in league games. The series loss was the first for the Cougars this season – after winning its fifth straight weekend series a week ago at Memphis.
Houston starter Austin Pruitt (7.1,6,4,3,3,5) was unfortunately tagged with just his second loss of the year, falling to 6-2 following another quality start. The senior tossed 7.1 innings, allowed three earned runs on six scattered hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
After allowing a run in the second inning following a leadoff hit and an RBI-single, Pruitt settled into his groove and retired 14 straight Thundering Herd hitters from the third through the seventh innings – giving the Houston offense a chance late.
Marshall starter Aaron Blair (8.0,2,0,0,1,11) struck out 11 Cougars in 8.0 innings of work, surrendering just two hits and one walk for the win – to improve to 5-1.
Houston wasn’t able to pull any offensive momentum together after stranding two in the second and one in the fourth and eighth innings.
The biggest hit of the day for the Cougars came off the bat of junior Frankie Ratcliff, (1x4, 2B) who continues to swing the hot bat for Houston this weekend, driving a double off the right field wall – inches away from clearing the fence for his second homerun of the series.
He eventually was stranded at third after reaching the last base with just one out in the fourth.
The only other hit Houston could muster up on the afternoon was a single by freshman Justin Montemayor (1x3). Junior Landon Appling drew an eighth inning walk, but was stranded at second following his fifth stolen base of the year as freshman Josh Vidales laced a hard low liner right at the shortstop that he was able to smother and throw to first for the final out and preserve the lead for Marshall.
Marshall would go on to score three runs in the eighth to put the game away late on three hits, a walk and a Houston error.
Junior Chase Wellbrock (0.2,1,0,0,0,0) pitched the final two outs of the game.
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The series finale will be played at 9 a.m. CT/10 a.m. ET on Sunday. Following the weekend series, Houston will take the midweek off before hosting non-conference Seton Hall next weekend at Cougar Field in a three-game series.