By Bryan Levine
The Marshall Thundering Herd shut down and shut out the Knights Thursday night, 6-0. Despite being eliminated from the playoffs and having nothing left to play for, Marshall pitchers Aaron Blair and Josh King seemed untouchable. Together they threw all nine innings, striking out seven Knights and allowing only four hits and four walks.
The game was virtually over in the third inning when the Thundering Herd sent eight batters the plate and scored the first four batters. Following a few singles and a walk, Victor Gomez hit a base-clearing double for the final hit of the inning.
“A lot of times in close games, although this turned into a six run game, I always talk about those two-out hits,” said Coach Terry Rooney after the game. “That’s all the difference in the world.”
Despite managing to get a runner on base the first seven innings, the Knights lacked the clutch hit to do something extra. When coming to the plate with two outs, the Knights were 0-9 on the night.
The story of the game for the Knights was reliever Ben Lively. Lively entered the game in the fifth inning after starter Brian Adkins let up a solo shot to Marshall’s big bat Rhett Stafford. Lively threw four and two-third innings, striking out four, allowing no runs on two, and two walks.
Coming into the game the Knights had two impressive streaks going. UCF was riding a five game win streak; the last four of which were on the road, and had also not committed an error in their last eight games, dating back to the second inning at South Florida May 3.
These two conference foes play their second of three games Friday night. UCF will be looking to bounce back and head into the postseason with a small win streak. The Knights’ Danny Winkler will be pitted against Mike Mason of the Thundering Herd.
“You want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the season, and I feel like we have been, to be honest, prior to tonight,” said Coach Rooney. “It’s important to get a win here this weekend.”