Herd Softball Drops Two at Spartan/Paladin Invitational
Marshall returns to the field Saturday at 12 p.m. against Presbyterian
Furman Box Score (PDF)
USC Upstate Box Score (PDF)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Marshall softball team fell in both games of day one at the Spartan/Paladin Invitational Friday from Cyrill Stadium on USC Upstate’s campus. The Thundering Herd lost to Furman, 3-1, and USC Upstate, 2-1.
Marshall is now 4-7 overall.
“Today was disappointing on a few levels,” Herd head coach Jen Steele said. “We talked about having the same sort of approach like we did last weekend and we failed to do so early in the day. We must find a way to be emotionally consistent if we want to win ballgames.”
Game One: Furman 3, Marshall 1
The Paladins scored in the first inning as Marshall got off to a slow start in the first game of the doubleheader. Senior Eloise Tribolet recorded the Herd’s first hit in the third inning.
“We didn’t come out attacking like we finished last weekend,” coach Steele said. “We had poor at-bats and were passive. It took us too long to make adjustments and we found ourselves trying to battle from behind. We never found any sort of rhythm.”
Junior Abigail Tolbert got the start in the circle and pitched 5.2 innings, allowed six hits, three runs, two earned and set a career-high with three strikeouts. Sophomore Kailee Williamson came on in relief in the sixth and closed out the final four outs of the game, allowing just one hit.
Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Marshall finally got on the scoreboard. Tribolet reached base safely on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a single to left-center by senior Elicia D’Orazio. The base hit from D’Orazio put her in a tie for 10th all-time with Jessica Williams (2003-06) with 201 career hits. Freshman Aly Harrell then entered to pinch hit and delivered her first career hit and RBI with a single to center and Tribolet scored from second.
Furman added one more in the top of the sixth to put the lead back to two, 3-1. The Paladins improved to 9-3 with the win.
Game Two: USC Upstate 2, Marshall 1
The Spartans collected eight hits on the way to improving to 10-0 to begin the season.
USC Upstate got on the board first with a run in the third. Sophomore Kailee Williamson got the start in the circle and pitched through six complete innings and allowed just one run on five hits.
“I liked what I saw from [Williamson]. The strike zone was pretty tight on both sides, so it was good to see her have to go right at hitters with her best stuff. She competed and gave us a chance to win, which is all we ask.”
The Herd had steady defensive play throughout the game. Freshman Wylie Glover made what could have been the play of the game to end the fifth. With one runner on, Logan Morris for USC Upstate sent a drive to deep left field. Glover tracked the ball to the fence and then got her glove over the wall to rob a potential two-run home run. The great grab kept the game at just a one-run deficit for Marshall.
Marshall had some opportunities early but just could come up with the timely hit.
“We had better at-bats but couldn’t find a way to string anything together,” coach Steele said. “We had runners in scoring position a few times but didn’t get the hit when we needed it. We adjusted well throughout the game and our battle in the top of the seventh was huge. We need that same sort of approach in the top of the first.
“Our bench did a great job coming into the game and making things happen.”
In the top of the seventh, the Herd made several lineup changes and it provided a spark. Harrell delivered with a leadoff, line drive double off the top of the wall in center. Glover re-entered the game to run at second. Senior Madi Marshall came in as a pinch hitter and dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Glover to third. Next, freshman Katie Adams came in to pinch hit and hit a fly ball to center. Glover tagged up at third and darted for home, sliding in just before the tag. The sacrifice fly gave Adams her first career RBI and the game was tied at 1-1.
Junior Ali Burdette entered the game to pitch in the bottom of the seventh, but the Spartans came up clutch as Brittany Case drove in her second run of the game.
Marshall continues the Spartan/Paladin Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 24, from Pepsi Stadium in Greenville, S.C., on Furman’s campus. The Herd takes on Presbyterian at 12 p.m. and then another match with Furman at 4 p.m. Marshall will finish the weekend on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 12 p.m., against Winthrop.