CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall baseball team found itself in a position against West Virginia it hasn't experienced more than two decades - winner.
Behind a torrid offensive start and a stellar performance from pitchers Aaron Blair and Josh King, the Thundering Herd beat the Mountaineers, 8-0, to win its first game versus WVU since Howard McCann coached the Herd to a 6-3 win in 1991. It was the first time Marshall pitched a shutout against WVU since winning 5-0 in Morgantown in 1981.
"It means everything to our program," Blair said. "We haven't played them in 15 years in West Virginia. We came out here and we shut them out with great pitching, great hitting and great defense. It was perfect."
The Mountaineers and Herd have seen very little of each other in the past decade and a half.
Their last game was a 5-3 West Virginia win on March 1, 2008, in Conway, S.C. Their last game before that was a 12-11 WVU win in Charleston on April 7, 1998.
In the top of the first inning, it looked like the Herd (9-10) would have another tough day against WVU (8-12). Blair -who entered the game with 21 strikeouts in four appearances, but hadn't pitched since March 10 - loaded the bases before recording his first out. He walked Mountaineers centerfielder Bobby Boyd and right fielder Brady Wilson, and then hit left fielder Jacob Rice.
"The first inning, I had some nerves going," Blair said. "It's a big game. I went out there and was overthrowing, then I settled down."
With his fastball, curveball and change-up working, Blair became nearly untouchable.
The sophomore right-hander fanned three straight to get himself out of trouble and avoided trouble for the rest of his appearance. Blair (3-1) struck out 11 in six no-hit innings, walking four and hitting two batters.
"Any good pitcher, you better get them early," Marshall Coach Jeff Waggoner said. "He got into a rhythm. As soon as Aaron gets out of that jam, the momentum went to our side."