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Pick To Click At Appalachian Power Park

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If this were the majors I'd be better equipped to provide home-road splits from the Thundering Herd. Instead, I'm forced to rely on anecdotal evidence of the supposed power surge that comes when the wind is blowing out in the afternoon at aptly-named Appalachian Power Park.

The Owls have visited Charleston twice since they joined Conference USA in 2006. The results from those two series are strikingly different, with the first series including three day games and the second two night games before the finale was contested during the afternoon:

2006: 17.3 runs/game, .433 batting average, 21 walks, 25 extra-base hits.

2008: 8.7 runs/game, .267 batting average, 16 walks, 12 extra-base hits.

According to some, the direction of the wind is more of a factor than the time of the first pitch when gauging the frequency of balls flying out of this park. There is a warehouse looming in right field that, from a story shared by a Marshall staffer, is easily reachable when conditions are perfect. Judging the intermittently limp flags on the left-center field scoreboard and those inside the left-field foul pole, conditions aren't ripe for an offensive eruption today. We'll see.

Past Owls have enjoyed legendary weekends here. 'Hank' Aaron Luna went 7-for-15 with two homers, 12 RBIs and 10 runs from May 18-20, 2006 while Brian Friday hit four homers and drove in 12 that series. Jared Gayhart went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a homer while driving in six in the Owls' 13-9 win on March 22, 2008. Chances are good that at least one member of the Rice batting order might go bananas this weekend, especially with three day games, so the question is who? Jr. SS Rick Hague has homered in consecutive games while driving in six against Texas State and Texas Southern. Fr. 2B Michael Ratterree appears to be driving the ball again (3-for-6 with three walks, two homers and six RBIs this week), and since he's strong like bull, he's worth a wager. Word is So. 3B Anthony Rendon has a little pop.

Of course, the most vital stat to maintain is this one: Rice is 6-0 at Appalachian Power Park.

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7 Comments

Geez, hope you guys packed some warm clothes. It is going to get chilly after today. That Sunday morning game is going to be frigid. Jared better bring some hand warmers for that start.

MK,

Do you think playing at such a hitter friendly ball park hurts us (and particularly one with these wind streams)? I mean, as our team this year tends to be so offensively dominant this year, do you think we would prefer to play at a park that is more difficult to hit in, like ours (and therefore hopefully widen the gap between our offense and our opponents offense)? It just seems that at a hitter friendly park, there is more variation and a higher likelihood that the better team might not win.

Thanks.

Owl Brett: I agree with your closing statement, but here is something to remember: the Owls are the superior hitting team (.316/.406/.493 to .290/.370/.445), so even if the Herd run into a few, the Owls are better equipped to explode offensively. Whatever advantage Marshall might gain by playing here, the Owls should exploit to an even greater degree because they are the more talented team. - MK

I'll bet on Sultzbaugh and Mozingo exploding at the plate this weekend. Seems like it should be their turn.

Of course, any other Owls that want to join them in the offensive explosion are certainly welcome!

Thanks MK. Just hopefully are players don't get too caught up with the friendliness of the park that they start swinging for the fences every time. I noticed that all of our players flied out in the top of the first.

Also, my bet is on Jimmy Baseball to have the best weekend.

I'd be happy to see an offensive explosion from any or all, but it is so good to see Rick's resurgence, both offensively and defensively, I'll bet on him.

It was nice to see Fazio have a good inning. Is his velocity coming back? If so, that would be a tremendous addition to the staff

wheredidmypantsgo: I'll check on that. - MK

Fazio's #'s after his tough start in the first week have been outstanding. I'm not sure what his velocity matters, given the lack of reliable arms in the pen right now.

At Ease: I would submit that the staff is/was concerned with the six walks he issued in 9.1 innings against Sam Houston State and Texas, and how hard he was hit in four innings against A&M-CC (he didn't miss many bats despite allowing just one run on five hits). By no means is Fazio out of the mix, but we you compare how sharp he was in the fall (control wise) and how hard he can throw (up to 91-92), his sitting around 85-86 w/11 walks is a concern. But with all the righties, his status is developing. - MK

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