Herd Uses Long Ball to Take Tourney Sweep of Appalachian State

Feb. 19, 2006

Box Score

ATHENS, Ga. - A day after struggling at the plate, the Marshall Thundering Herd exploded for nine runs on 12 hits, including three home runs, to take a 9-1 run-rule win over Appalachian State Sunday.

With the win, Marshall (6-4) earned a sweep of Appalachian State (0-5) at the Georgia Softball Classic. The Herd defeated the Mountaineers 8-0 in the tournament's first game Friday.

Senior Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) earned her third win of the season (3-3), striking out five batters in three innings. Amanda Luers (Dover, Ohio/Dover) closed the door for the Herd, earning her first save of the season. Luers scattered four hits, while striking out a pair of batters in four innings of relief.

Appalachian State starting pitcher Keri Blackwelder (0-2) received the loss, lasting only two innings. Blackwelder allowed four runs on four hits, striking out two batters. Teri Fister allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings of relief.

Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) led the Herd offensively, going 3-for-4 with a home run and team-high four RBI.

Deanna Tourville (Rescue, Calif./Ponderosa) hit two of the Herd's three home runs, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Freshmen Rachel Schmidt (Alliance, Ohio/Marlington) and Joscelyn Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) made their first career start Sunday. Bitner went 1-for-3 with a run scored, while Schmidt finished 0-for-4.



Saturday night, Marshall loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and had almost assured a win against 12th-ranked Georgia. However, the Herd left the bases loaded and the game went into extra innings, where the Bulldogs defeated Marshall 7-4.

The Herd's offensive woes with the bases loaded continued against Appalachian State. Marshall again loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, but was unable to plate any runs or register any hits.

In the second inning, however, the Thundering Herd scored four runs, including a pair of home runs, to take an early 4-0 lead.

Facing an 0-1 count, Tourville hit her first home run of the season - a solo effort to left-center field - to end the scoreless tie.

A two-out RBI double down the left field line by Jessica Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) scored Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) for the Herd's second run. Then, Folden cleared the bases with a two-run, opposite-field home run, giving the Herd the four-run lead.

Tourville hit her second solo home run of the morning in the third inning - this time off Fister - to give Marshall a commanding five-run lead.

With one out in the fourth, Marshall threatened to build upon its lead, but poor base running for the second time in as many games ended the Herd's chances. After the Williams sisters reached base with back-to-back singles, Folden sent a sure RBI double over the head of Appalachian State center fielder Mary Lutz. But, Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) was late leaving second base and was thrown out at home plate.

Marshall added four more runs in the sixth inning, extending its insurmountable lead to 9-0. With one out, Folden plated Bitner and Mitchell with a two-RBI single to center field. Gina Guzzo (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) later plated pinch runner Noelle Adams (Wheeling, W.Va./The Linsly School) and Rodriguez to cap off the Herd's four-run sixth.

Marshall 9, Appalachian State 1 (Feb 19, 2006 at Athens, Ga.)
Marshall............ 041 004  -  9 12  2      (6-4)
Appalachian State... 000 001  -  1  5  1      (0-5)
Pitchers: Marshall - Veronica Ralston; Amanda Luers(4). Appalachian State - Keri Blackwelder; Teri Fister(3).
Win-Veronica Ralston(3-3)  Save-Amanda Luers(1)  Loss-Keri Blackwelder(0-2)
T-1:51  A-127