HUNTINGTON — David McCabe provided the punch and Spencer Giesting provided quality relief work on the mound as Charlotte knocked off Marshall 11-4 Friday in the first game of a three-game Conference USA series at George T. Smailes Field/YMCA Kennedy Center.
McCabe belted a three-run double in the second to start the scoring for the 49ers and lofted a two-run homer to right in the ninth to provide the finishing touches on Charlotte’s seventh straight win.
Charlotte coach Rob Woodard is more than glad to have McCabe back after his near six-week absence.
“When he’s healthy, he can hit some shots,” Woodard said.
Charlotte (25-17, 9-10 C-USA) got all its runs in the second and sixth innings after two were out. Jeffrey Purnell (5-3) started for the Herd but went just three innings and allowed four hits, three runs and walked three.
“It was not Jeffrey’s best pitching,” Thundering Herd coach Jeff Waggoner said. “He’ll come back.”
Waggoner also noted Herd pitchers allowed 10 walks, hit two batters and made two errors.
“When you give a team 14 freebies, you’re not going to win,” Waggoner said.
Marshall (19-22-1, 8-11 C-USA) had good scoring chances in the first two innings, but managed just one run. Luke Edwards got the RBI on a single to center to extend his on-base streak to 50 games.
The Herd then loaded the bases on 49ers starter Hale Sims and he got yanked in favor of Giesting, who struck out Cole Williams to end the threat. The Herd loaded the bases on the lefty in the second, but he got Ryan Leitch on a called third strike to end that threat.
“Spencer was sensational today,” Woodard said. “Bases loaded, a really good hitter up there and he gets to the eighth. It starts out worst-case scenario to that. This is a special team.”
In the big sixth, Herd reliever Chad Heiner walked three straight batters to load the bases with two outs. Jack Dragum then singled just inside the first-base bag to drive in two. Josh Madole followed with a two-run triple to right.
Marshall came in off a three-game sweep at Western Kentucky last weekend.
“This team’s got a lot of resilience,” Waggoner said. The Herd scored three times in the ninth on three hits.
Game 2 in the series is Saturday at 1 p.m. The series finale is Sunday at the same time.
This weekend is Cancer Awareness Weekend for Herd baseball. All players and staff are wearing hats with a ribbon representing the type of cancer that has affected their lives.