Feb. 10, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Marshall Thundering Herd showed no signs of opening game jitters as it used a five-run first and a three-run fifth inning to take a 8-0 run-rule win over Mississippi Valley State Friday in game one of the Hampton Inn Bama Bash!.
Junior southpaw Abigail Harter (1-0) earned the complete-game shut out victory, allowing one hit, while striking out four Delta Devilette batters. Mississippi Valley State's Nikki Souder (0-1) got the loss, allowing all eight of the Herd's runs.
Sophomores Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) each hit a home run for the Herd. Rodriguez finished 2-for-3 with a game-high four RBI, while Folden added two RBI.
A year after producing one of the best offensive seasons in program history, the Thundering Herd hung a five-spot on the Delta Devilettes, quickly running out to a 5-0 first-inning lead.
Senior centerfielder Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Powder Springs) led off with a first-pitch double to center field. A bunt by Jessica Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Powder Springs) put runners on the corners for the Herd.
Freshman rightfielder Rachael Sofie (Everett, Wash./Cascade) scored the Williams sisters with a two-RBI single, giving the Herd a 2-0 lead. After a Leigh Wintter (Acworth, Ga./North Cobb) walk, Rodriguez cleared the bases with a three-run home run for a 5-0 Herd advantage.
Harter retired the first seven batters she faced, not allowing a base runner until the third inning. Mississippi Valley State's Traci Roper drew a one-out walk and later advanced to third on a pair of stolen bases. However, Harter was able to stifle the Delta Devilettes' scoring opportunity, forcing Balencia Young to fly out to end the inning.
Harter carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning, until Amber Stewart's two-out single through the right side.
With one out in the fifth, Jessica Williams doubled down the left field line. Folden followed with her first home run of the season - to left center field - to give the Herd a seven-run lead. Later in the inning, Rodriguez singled through the left side, plating pinch runner Noelle Adams for the decisive 8-0 win.
Because of potentially inclement weather in the area, the Herd's game with the sixth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will be played at 6 p.m. (EST). Live stats along with a live broadcast by WVUA-FM 90.7 will be available on www.RollTIde.com.