CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In a 19-13 win on Friday, Marshall proved it could slug it out with a nationally ranked team and one of Conference USA's best.
On Saturday, the Thundering Herd and ace pitcher Aaron Blair proved the squad can also throw it with the best of them.
In a complete reversal of style, the Herd held No. 19 Houston off the scoreboard completely, limited the Cougars to just two hits and used a three-run eighth inning to lock down a 4-0 win at Appalachian Power Park in the second game of the three-game C-USA weekend set.
The game was played in a brisk two hours and 20 minutes, compared to 4:18 in Friday's game.
No matter the style, Marshall coach Jeff Waggoner has seen his team gut out its first Conference USA series win since 2011.
"It's funny how it usually works that way," Waggoner said of the contrasting types of games in back-to-back days. "We knew it was going to be a well-pitched game and we were able to grind out some at bats. Now we've just got to come out [today] with intensity and try to get the sweep."
To be fair, a "well-pitched game" doesn't really do it justice - it was a flat-out duel most of the day.
Blair was stellar in his eight innings of work, yielding just one walk to go with the Cougars' two hits while striking out 11.
Houston ace Austin Pruitt matched Blair nearly the whole way, giving up just one run over the first seven innings until RBI singles from Andrew Dundon, Nathan Gomez and Gray Stafford broke it open for the Herd late.
"Everything was working," Blair said. "Fastball, changeup, curveball - I was down in the zone and they played great defense behind me. [It was] a great team win."
"The big difference in this start and his other starts was he was able to keep his pitch count down," Waggoner said of Blair. "He was efficient and did a great job of keeping us where we needed to be to win the game."