May 9, 2006
OXFORD, Ohio - After staking themselves to 6-0 lead after five innings, the Miami RedHawks had to hold on over the final four frames and escaped with a 9-8 win over Marshall at McKie Field. Senior centerfield Jason Brown (Fairfield, OH/Fairfield), who was mired in a 0-for-11 slump, led the RedHawks to their eighth straight win with a 2-for-4, 2-RBI night.
After two scoreless innings, the Miami bats came alive in third following a Evan Armitage (Milford, OH/Milford) single, a Geoff Orr (Orland Park, IL/Carl Sandburg) walk and a Marshall balk that left runners on second and third. With one out first baseman Jeff Carroll (Columbus, OH/Bishop Watterson) singled up the middle and scored the first two runs for the RedHawks.
In the fourth inning, the RedHawks put four runs across by doing the little things, scoring on a Eric Darlage (Powell, OH/Olentangy Liberty) RBI-single, a bases-loaded walk by Brandon Hillier (Hinsdale, IL/Central) , a sacrifice fly by Orr and a Marshall wild pitch and error by the catcher that scored Ryne Robinson (Toledo, OH/Central Catholic).
Marshall scratched out a run in the top of the fifth after a single and a pair of stolen by lead-off man Chris Monaco, who scored a batter later on a single by Adam Frederick. Miami added two more in the bottom of the fifth when Brown plated the first of his two RBIs.
After allowing just five hits and one run through the first five innings, senior starter Sam Shorts (Lombard, IL/Glenbard East) ran into problems in the sixth as Marshall opened the frame with a single and back-to-back doubles to cut the lead to 8-3. Marshall added two more in the inning off Chris Niro (Walton Hills, OH/Walsh Jesuit) and trailed 8-5 after five and a half innings.
The RedHawks tacked on their final run of the night in bottom of the sixth as Brown singled to center to drive in Carroll.
Marshall added two more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to cut Miami's lead to 9-8 heading into the ninth inning.
Senior closer Matt Long (Granville, OH/Granville), who relieved Jeff Day (West Chester, OH/Lakota East) in the eighth, came on looking for his seventh save of the year and he had to earn it. After getting the lead-off hitter out on what looked like a unassisted grounder to the first baseman, the umpire called catcher's interference on Miami's Darlage and took away the out and put the runner on first.
After inserting a pinch runner, Marshall's Matt Helm stole second, giving Marshall the tying run on second with no outs. Following a strike out and a fly out by the Thundering, Long allowed his only walk of the night, putting runners on first and second with two outs. He made matters worse one batter later when he loaded the bases with a hit batsman, setting up the peculiar finish to the game.
Long got ahead 0-2 to Marshall pinch hitter Jimmy Mathias and on the third pitch Long threw a down-and-away slider that Mathias swung at and missed. The ball slipped by Darlage and went to the backstop, while the runner on third sprinted toward home plate for the tying run. Mathias in the confusion of the passed ball didn't immediately take off for first, giving Darlage the time to get to the backstop, pick up the ball and throw to first to end the game.
The win was Miami's eighth in a row and improved their record to 25-22 on the season. Shorts picked up the win and improved to 4-2, while Long earned his seventh save of the year. Robinson and DH Chris Nadeau each posted two-hit games for Miami. The loss dropped Marshall to 20-25 on the year.
The RedHawks play again tomorrow vs. University of Dayton. The first pitch, which was originally set for 6 p.m., has been moved to 4 p.m. at McKie Field in Oxford.