Herd Softball Edged Out by No. 10 Tennessee, 5-4
Dramatic finish to last game of Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Invite
Box Score (PDF)
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Marshall softball team played an incredible game against No. 10 Tennessee Sunday morning at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex. The Lady Vols edged out the Herd in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh and escaped with the win, 5-4.
“Today was a very good indicator of what type of team we can be this year,” Herd head coach Jen Steele said. “I am so proud of our squad. Not just because we battled Tennessee, but because after last weekend we reassessed, got to work, and made changes. We didn’t press one time this weekend and didn’t worry about last week’s results.
“We didn’t get nervous about playing great competition.”
Marshall (4-5) fell behind the Lady Vols (10-1) early 3-0 after the first inning. However, in the top of the second the Herd took advantage of several Tennessee mistakes to score four runs and take the lead.
With one out in the second, freshman Samantha Koehn drew a walk. Junior Abigail Estrada then reached base safely on an infield error. Freshman Grayson Radcliffe loaded the bases as she was plunked right across the top of the helmet. Two batters later, with bases still loaded, senior Elicia D’Orazio reached on an errant throw by the first baseman. The throw rolled far into right field and all three runners headed home. With Radcliffe sliding to the plate, a relay from the outfield got away from the catcher and D’Orazio strolled home.
The Herd scored four runs off two errors on one play using its speed and great base running.
“We stuck to our offensive game plan and we played much better defense,” coach Steele said. “We were able to defend the short game and shut down the run game.
“Ali Burdette continues to give us chances to win and she is only going to get better the more she gets the ball.”
Burdette entered the circle in relief in the first inning. The junior from Buffalo, W.Va., pitched six innings and allowed just seven hits and two runs scored with four strikeouts. She kept the Lady Vols off the scoreboard until the bottom of the seventh.
Throughout the contest, the Marshall defense gave great effort. Senior Jordan Colliflower made a diving catch near the right field line to retire the leadoff batter in the bottom of the second after the Herd had taken the lead. D’Orazio at short contributed four assists and Burdette assisted on five outs.
“You have to tip your cap to Tennessee,” coach Steele added. “They made things happen in the last inning and then their All-American got the game-winning hit. That’s how it goes sometimes.
“I’ll take today’s effort out of our squad. We’ll go back to Huntington, get to work, and get ready for next weekend.”
Marshall returns to the field on Friday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m., in Spartanburg, S.C., against the Furman Paladins.