In the longest game in Conference USA tournament history, Marshall’s baseball team was able to outlast Louisiana Tech.
The Thundering Herd to a two-run single from Shane Hanon in the 12th to grind its way to a 6-4 win over the Bulldogs and stay alive in the winners’ bracket of the C-USA tournament at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was Marshall’s (29-26) third extra-inning game in its last four.
“I’m of these guys and the way they hang in there,” Marshall coach Jeff Waggoner said. “Everybody stepped up today. I told them they’d have to. There are no roles this time of the year. There’s no closer, no game two or three starter. We’ll do whatever it takes to win and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. That’s’ how we played today.”
Hanon was down to his last strike in the 12th when he was able to poke a single back up the middle with two outs to score Geordon Blanton and Erik Rodriguez to break a 4-4 tie. It wasn’t the only piece of extra-inning drama for the Herd on Wednesday. Elvis Peralta kept Marshall alive in the bottom of the 11th when his diving stop of a Taylor Young smack to end the inning and keep Young from driving in a game-winning run.
“It feels good in all honesty,” Peralta said. “When you’re winning games, everyone is believing in each other. Whether you’re winning or your down, everyone is sticking together and staying hot. I love it.”
Marshall held a three-run lead twice, at 3-0 in the second and 4-1 in the sixth. But Louisiana Tech was able to chip away at that advantage. Michael Guererro, who entered the game for Marshall starting pitcher Joshua Shapiro, threw a pair of wild pitches in the seventh to allow the Bulldogs to pull to within one run. In the ninth, his control issues sent the game to extra innings. He hit one Tech batter and walked two more to load the bases, then walked in the tying run.
Shapiro went 6 2/3 innings in his start, giving up three runs, all earned on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Marshall will face the winner between Rice and Southern Mississippi at 4 p.m. Thursday.