Marshall falls to Houston, 9-1
CHARLESTON -- Unlike Friday, Houston's early lead against Marshall on Sunday held up.
On Friday, the No. 19 Cougars opened a 13-4 lead on the Thundering Herd after 31/2 innings, but Marshall charged back to register a dramatic 19-13 victory.
Sunday, Houston jumped to a 5-1 lead after five innings, but no comeback magic for the Herd this time as the Cougars pulled away to a 9-1 victory on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep in the Conference USA series at Appalachian Power Park.
Herd coach Jeff Waggoner was OK with the Herd taking two of three, but not with the way the team performed on a windy Sunday morning.
"We haven't put together complete games yet. You take talent. They've got a very good team, obviously, with the record and ranking, but this team could be really good, too, if we'd just get out of our own way and play the game the way we can," Waggoner said. "I was proud of the way guys responded this weekend, and when we faced adversity Friday we came back, and yesterday, with Blair we had great performance, and we played great defense. Today was sort of a letdown. We didn't pitch as well and we didn't hit with guys on base."
Houston (24-9, 6-3 C-USA) started the charge in the fourth when Justin Montemayor blasted the first pitch from Michael Taylor over the wall in right. Taylor was one of eight pitchers Waggoner trotted to the mound. Catcher Caleb Barker added a two-run single in the fifth and Ashford Fulmer wrapped up Houston's power surge with a towering two-run homer to left in the seventh.
Houston finished with 13 hits for its 16th 10-plus hit game of the season.
The Herd (13-18, 3-3 C-USA) got its run in the fifth on Gray Stafford's ground ball to the right side that slipped under the diving reach of first baseman Montemayor, scoring Andrew Dundon from second. Dundon had reached on one of his singles on a 4-for-4 day. Isaac Ballou reached on a single in the seventh inning to extended his streak of reaching base to 23 games.
"Drew (Dundon) has a good approach at the plate," Waggoner said. "He keeps his hands inside and has quality at-bats. He's worked hard on his swing and trusts himself." After this series, Dundon's hitting a team-leading .351.
Houston starter Jake Lemoine (5-1) worked six innings to get the win. He threw 28 pitches in the first inning when the Herd loaded the bases but failed to score. He had a light pitch count in the second.
"We let him get in a groove," Waggoner said.
Aaron Blair's two-hit gem in a 4-0 win Saturday gave the Herd two straight wins over a ranked team for the first time since March 29, 2006 when the Herd swept a twinbill from No. 25 James Madison at University Heights.
Marshall's next game is 6:35 p.m. Wednesday against Ohio State in Columbus. The Herd resumes C-USA play next weekend with a three-game series at Southern Miss.
This was the final regular-season meeting between the two teams. The Cougars lead the all-time series 20-7. Houston is entering the American Athletic Conference (current name is Big East) next season.
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