HUNTINGTON — When opportunity knocked, Old Dominion answered and Marshall was left standing.
The Thundering Herd went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base Friday in a 12-1 loss to the Monarchs on a cool, sunny afternoon in front of 61 spectators at George Smailes Field at the YMCA Kennedy Center.
Opportunities did abound, as ODU pitchers stranded two Marshall runners in each of the first three innings, left the bases loaded in the fourth, then stranded two more in the fifth. By then, the Monarchs led 5-1 on their way to the mercy rule, eight-inning triumph. The Herd also left two on base in the eighth.
A bright spot for Marshall (4-12 overall, 0-5 Conference USA) was former Cabell Midland pitcher Chad Heiner, who struck out a career-high nine batters, matching his season total, in 4 2/3 innings. Heiner, though, allowed four runs on five hits, including three solo home runs in taking the loss.
The first blast was on Heiner’s second pitch, which Kyle Battle hit over the fence in left-center field for his seventh homer of the season. Carter Trice and Andy Garriola hit home runs in the fifth, tying Battle for the team lead.
The Herd’s run also came via the longball. Jordan Billups’ first homer, a drive to right, in a Marshall uniform cut Old Dominion’s lead to 2-1 in the fourth. Billups finished 2 for 3.
Former Spring Valley High School star Cody Sharp relieved Heiner and gave up two runs on no hits, with three walks in one inning. Ryan Capuano pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on six hits, walking five and striking out two.
Aaron Holiday (2-1) earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of relief as the Monarchs improved to 18-5 overall and 4-1 in C-USA.
Kenny Levari went 3 for 5 with three runs batted in for Old Dominion. Trice and Tommy Bell each went 2 for 4 with three RBI. Battle was 2 for 4 and drove in two.
Former Hurricane High School standout Tyler Cox recorded his first hit for Marshall, doubling in the eighth.
The Herd and Monarchs play a doubleheader Saturday, with first pitch set for noon. The series concludes Sunday with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.