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MU's Blair shuts out Houston, 4-0

Apr. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The anticipated pitchers' duel went Marshall's way and so did the outcome.

Starter Aaron Blair (5-1) allowed just two hits and struck out 11 over eight innings and the Thundering Herd pushed across three runs in the bottom of the eighth to finish off No. 19 Houston, 4-0, in Conference USA baseball Saturday at Appalachian Power Park. At one point, he retired 14 straight batters.

Marshall (13-17, 3-2 C-USA) goes for a series sweep at 10 a.m. Sunday at the home of the West Virginia Power. Saturday's win was the Herd's fifth via shutout in 2013.

The Cougars (23-9, 5-3 C-USA) have lost four in a row. This is their first series loss this season. They had won five straight weekend series.

Houston starter Austin Pruitt (6-2) gave up six hits and four runs over 7.1 innings. After giving up a run in the second, he retired 14 straight Marshall batters.

A double by Frankie Ratcliff in the fourth and single by Justin Montemayor were Houston's only hits. Ratcliff later reached third, but was stranded there.

Marshall got the first run home in the second on an RBI single by Aaron Bossi. The Herd used three hits, a walk and Houston error to push across the three runs in the eighth. Andrew Dundon and Gray Stafford each had two hits and an RBI each. Nathan Gomez and Bossi knocked in the other two runs.

Isaac Ballou reached on a swinging bunt in the third to extend his streak of reaching base to 22 games.

This is the second time Blair went eight innings. The first was last April 27 against Southern Miss. The 11 strikeouts matched his season high (against West Virginia on March 19).