Marshall one of 14 programs selected in Division I
Three-game series begins Saturday, April 29, at 3 p.m. EDT
First pitch from Lexington set for 6 p.m.
Fall Camp to take place Saturday, Oct. 1
First game Saturday Sept. 24 at Kentucky Christian
Chanda Bell just finished her fourth season as Marshall’s pitching coach. During Bell’s time, the Herd won 30 or more games three times and held an overall record of 135-84 (.616). In 2015 and 2017, Marshall ended the season with a winning percentage of .700 or better. Under Coach Bell’s tutelage, Jordan Dixon re-wrote the Marshall pitching record books and was named the 2017 Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and a NFCA All-America third team selection.
Marshall turned in possibly its greatest season in program history in Bell’s fourth season. In 2017, the Herd won a program-best 42 games, finished the season ranked 24th in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and spent most of the year with a top 30 RPI. Marshall set a team record with a 17-game winning streak while going undefeated in the month of March. The Herd went 20-4 in Conference USA winning the regular season championship and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
This past season, Bell developed Dixon into one of the best pitchers in the country. Dixon established many records along the way. The senior ace was credited with 32 of Marshall’s program-record 42 wins which ranked her third in the nation for most victories. Dixon finished in the top 10 in strikeouts (ninth) as well. In her record setting year, Dixon became the first Marshall pitcher to earn 100 wins (108), record 1,000 strikeouts (1,115) and pitch 1,000 innings (1,074.2). She also became the first Herd hurler to win 30 or more games twice, record 200 or more strikeouts four times and throw 200 or more innings four times. From March 3 through April 14, Dixon won 17-straight starts and earned the win in 12 of Marshall’s record 17-game winning streak. She rolled through conference play with a record of 15-2 and five shutouts. The senior pitched her second and third career no-hitters including a 2-0 win over WKU on May 11 in the Conference USA Tournament. It was only the second no-hitter in the history of the C-USA Tournament. The senior ace pitched 22 innings in the NCAA Regional Tournament in a span of less than 24 hours and earned a win after eight innings over DePaul. Dixon ended the year as the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, first team All-Conference USA, NFCA Mideast All-Region First Team and NFCA All-America Third Team. She is Marshall’s all-time leader in appearances (203), games started (161) and complete games (105) along with wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. Dixon is one of just 58 pitchers in NCAA history to finish a career with 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts, just the second in Conference USA history. Her 203 appearances is fifth most in NCAA History.
In 2016, Marshall reached 30 wins a season for the 11th time in program history and the second-straight year with Bell calling pitches. Junior Jordan Dixon became the first Marshall pitcher to win 20 or more games three times with 23. Dixon became Marshall’s all-time leader in wins with her 66th career victory in her first career no-hitter against Ohio on March 22. On April 6, the junior ace moved ahead of Andi Williamson for first all-time in career strikeouts when she recorded number 732 at Wright State. Dixon appeared in over 50 games (51) for the second time in her career and started 41 games for the third-straight season. In the first round of the C-USA Tournament, Dixon held UTSA scoreless with just three hits through seven innings as the Marshall offense scored the walk-off winner in the bottom of the seventh. She was a two-time Conference USA Pitcher of the Week and finished the year selected second-team All-Conference and NFCA Mideast All-Region Second Team. Senior pitcher Brittanie Fowler, who spent three seasons under Bell, had the finest outing of her career on senior day when she entered the game in the second inning in relief and pitched six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits in Marshall’s 3-2 win on May 1.
In 2015, Marshall’s sophomore pitcher Jordan Dixon turned in one of the finest seasons of any Herd pitcher as the Herd jumped out to its best start (10-1) in team history. With Bell calling pitches, Dixon tied the team record for wins in a season with 33 and became the second pitcher in program history to record over 300 strikeouts (308). She was the first pitcher in the country to reach 30 wins and finished fifth in the nation. Her 308 strikeouts ranked eighth best in the country. Marshall finished the season 35-15 with a .700 winning percentage. The Herd shutout 10 opponents and held teams to three or fewer runs in 26 games. During a six-game winning streak, Marshall outscored its opponents 23-5. During the six-game stretch, Dixon pitched five complete games and struck out 44 batters.
In 2014, Bell’s first season at Marshall, the Herd advanced to its third consecutive Conference USA Tournament Championship game. Bell helped freshman pitcher Jordan Dixon earn 20 wins and shatter the team record for most strikeouts by a freshman with 245. The old record was 165 by Cristy Waring in 1995. By the end of the year, Dixon established freshman records for appearances (54), wins (20) and games started (41). She had the second most shutouts (4) and innings pitched (245.1) and third most complete games (19). In the first round of the C-USA Tournament against the No. 2 seed UAB Blazers, Dixon went the distance and struck out nine for her fourth shutout of the year.
Bell joined the Thundering Herd's staff after a decorated playing career at the University of Kentucky. Bell has previously served as a student assistant coach with the Wildcats last season.
During her playing days, she earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Academic Team and an SEC Freshman Player of the Week accolade as a rookie. She made UK history against Western Kentucky, pitching the Wildcats' first no-hitter. Bell claimed the school record for strikeouts in a season and broke the UK single-game record with 15 strikeouts on three occasions, setting a precedent for herself for later years to come.
As a sophomore, she earned All-SEC Academic Team honors, broke her own single-season record with 288 strikeouts and earned an NCAA win over Ohio State. In her 2011 junior season, she became the first UK player to rack up 700 or more strikeouts in a career. She threw the school's first SEC no-hitter against Mississippi State, and the school's first perfect game against Austin Peay. She took her second NCAA victory against Michigan in the third game of the NCAA regional.
As a senior, she threw 208 strikeouts, being the only pitcher in UK history to have four seasons with 200 or more K's. She earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors two consecutive weeks, while also taking NFCA National Player of the Week - the first player in history to receive the accolade. She became the Wildcats' all-time winningest pitcher and earned All-SEC Tournament team honors in the 2012 season.
Bell went 68-44 with six saves and 17 shutouts. She had a career ERA of 2.55 and pitched 910 strikeouts in 724 innings.