Feb. 11, 2006
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Samantha Rodriguez's three-run, walk-off home run to left-center field capped off a furious comeback, as the Marshall Thundering Herd handed a 9-8 loss to Eastern Kentucky Saturday night at the UA Softball Complex.
With the win, the second-seeded Thundering Herd (3-1) will face top-seeded Alabama (4-0) in the Hampton Inn Bama Bash! championship game. First pitch is slated for 2:30 p.m. (EST). Fans are reminded that live stats and a live broadcast by WVUA-FM 90.7 will be available on www.RollTide.com.
Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) earned the win, allowing two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of relief. Junior starting pitcher Amanda Luers (Dover, Ohio/Dover) allowed six runs on six hits with three walks in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
EKU freshman Kalyn Fox (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing nine runs on 12 hits in six innings.
Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) continued her offensive explosion in the Saturday nightcap against Eastern Kentucky. With Jessica Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) on second, Folden ripped a one-out single through the left side, scoring Williams for a 1-0 Herd lead. The RBI single was Folden's team-leading fifth run batted of the tournament.
However, Marshall's one-run lead would not hold up as Eastern Kentucky responded with an explosive six-run second inning, taking a 6-1 advantage. After retiring the first batter she faced in the inning, Luers allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base.
Five of Colonels' six runs in the second came with only one out in the frame, topped off by Kelsey Anderson's two-RBI single up the middle. Amy Mayrhofer's sacrifice fly to center field plated Katie Rolf for EKU's sixth run. With two outs in the second inning, Ralston relieved Luers in the circle.
With the Herd trailing 6-1 in the third, Marshall was unable to chip into the Colonels' five-run lead, leaving two runners stranded on base.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Herd was able to capitalize on an EKU miscue, cutting the deficit to 6-3. Facing two outs, Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) grounded to the pitcher for the potentially third out of the inning.
However, Fox's relay sailed over the head of EKU first baseman Jaimey Kleinsmith into right field. The errant throw allowed Deanna Tourville (Rescue, Calif./Ponderosa) and Mitchell to score.
Eastern Kentucky added two runs of its own in the ensuing inning, increasing its lead back to five runs, 8-3. Chanze Patterson singled home Pam Webber and Patterson later scored on Alex Merrell's RBI double.
Marshall threatened to make a run offensively against EKU, but was only able to come away with a run in the fifth inning. Leigh Wintter (Acworth, Ga./North Cobb) plated Jessica Williams on a sacrifice fly to trim the Colonels lead to 8-4.
Another Eastern Kentucky throwing error allowed the Herd to score in the third consecutive inning, cutting the Colonels lead to 8-5. And, for the second consecutive inning, the Herd scored a run on an EKU error with Mitchell at the plate. Mitchell laid down a bunt in front of EKU catcher Becky Werle. Werle's throw went past first base, allowing Tourville to score from second.
The Herd saved the best for last, as Rodriguez's three-run home run in the seventh inning capped off a theatrical comeback. Folden, Rachel Sofie and Wintter each singled with Sofie scoring on Wintter's RBI single, cutting the lead to 8-6. That set the stage for Rodriguez's second three-run home run in as many days.