Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Marshall's Jaren Lovely steps up to bat as Herd baseball takes on Binghamton in the Herd’s home opener on Friday, March 1, 2019, at George T. Smailes Field at the YMCA Kennedy Center in Huntington.

HD Media

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University secured a spot in the Conference USA baseball tournament next week with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings over Rice Friday on George T. Smailes Field at the Huntington YMCA Kennedy Center.

Marshall, 27-25 overall and 13-15 conference, returns to the eight-team C-USA tournament for the first time since 2016. Rice (24-30, 14-15) had already clinched a tournament berth.

The C-USA tournament is May 22-26 at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi.

"It's amazing the way that we hang in there, it shows the toughness of the team," Marshall head coach Jeff Waggoner said in a HerdZone.com release. "Our pitchers did a great job of just keeping us right there. Other than a few pitches, they threw really well. Our offense is good. It struggled a little bit early, but we still had good swings on the ball. They were just outs, but we put it together at the end. It was a fun game to be a part of."

With one out in the 10th inning, Marshall pinch-hitter Jaren Lovely singled to left field. Raul Cabrera fouled out to first base and Luke Edwards stepped to the plate. Edwards came into the at bat 0-for-8 in the series. With a 1-2 count after a pair of foul balls, he hit a ball up the middle. After the ball took a funky hop and was bobbled by Rice left fielder Antonio Cruz, Lovely scored the winning run all the way from first base.

Rice had a 3-0 lead after seven innings with a run-scoring double by Aaron Beaulaurier and solo home runs by Bradley Gnelting and Antonio Cruz.

Marshall pulled even 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Elvis Peralta started the Thundering Herd rally in the eighth by drawing a walk. After two outs Zach Inskeep delivered one run with a double to left-center field. Cabrera followed with a two-run homer to left field.

"I was not thinking about a homer," Cabrera said. "I was just thinking about getting a hit and getting the next guy up."

Marshall starter Wade Martin pitched the first four innings and was charged with two of the Rice runs. Michael Guerrero (4-1), the fourth Marshall pitcher, worked the final two innings for the win. Guerrero allowed no hits or runs, walked two and struck out three.

Owls' reliever Blair Lewis (3-2) pitched the last 2.2 innings, giving up five hits and three runs, and took the loss.

Marshall's 10 hits included Inskeep going 3-for-3 and Cabrera with a 2-for-5 game. Antonio Cruz led Rice with a pair of hits.

The Herd and Owls wrap up the series with Marshall's Senior Day game at 11 a.m. Saturday.