Herd Opens Conference USA Action with a Win
The Herd and the Owls split the day with a win and a loss
March 5, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Marshall softball (5-12, 1-1 C-USA) opened Conference USA action with an 8-5 victory over new conference foe FAU (12-9, 1-1 C-USA) Wednesday evening.
Despite suffering a 4-0 loss in Game 2, the Thundering Herd was able to start conference play with a win for the fifth time since joining in 2006 (2007-09, ’12).
The third game of the Marshall – FAU series has had a time change due to anticipation for inclement weather and will now be played at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Marshall 8, FAU 5
The Herd did not hesitate and attacked immediately in its first C-USA game of the season.
Sophomore Kaelynn Greene (Eastvale, Calif.) led off the inning with an infield single. Zerkle (2-for-3) followed Greene’s lead and connected for a slap single of her own to put two on base with no outs on the board. A fly ball to left field registered the first out of the inning, but after two stolen bases, the next out resulted in a throwing error that allowed Greene to score, 1-0.
Escareno (2-for-3) connected for an RBI single and advanced to second on the throw home. The extra base did not make a difference for sophomore Katalin Lucas (Agua Dulce, Calif.), who smashed her second homer of the season over the left-field fence of the FAU Softball Stadium to give Marshall a four-run advantage, 4-0.
The Owls put up runs in the bottom of second inning with four drawn walks and a single to shrink the Herd’s lead to 4-2.
Zerkle gave Marshall another insurance run in the top of the third inning after reaching base on a walk. The rookie advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Shaelynn Braxton (Woodbridge, Va.) and stole third base. A poor attempt in throwing her out resulted in an Owls error and allowed her to take home, 5-2.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Owls tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Led off by a single, the advancing runner was the first out on a fielder’s choice. A combination of two singles, a double, a walk and a hit by pitch brought in three FAU runners to tie the ball game at 5 before the third out.
Marshall took back the lead quickly with back-to-back leadoff doubles from senior Savanah Webster (Las Vegas, Nevada) and Escareno to push the Herd ahead by one, 6-5. Lucas watched four pitches go by to reach base, and freshman Morgan Kelley (Milton, W.Va.) laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
Sophomore pinch hitter Alyssa Cook (West Hamlin, W.Va.) stepped into the batter’s box and hit a clutch two-RBI single that passed right under the second baseman’s glove into right center to push Marshall ahead by three, 8-5.
After being retired in order in the seventh inning, the Owls led off the final inning with a threatening triple. Freshman Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.) shut FAU down with three consecutive K’s to end the game and give Marshall its first C-USA win of 2014.
Marshall won, but was outhit by FAU 9-to-8. Both teams committed two errors, and Dixon (3-8) earned the victory.
FAU 4, Marshall 0
Game 2 started in dissimilar fashion to the first game between the new C-USA opponents. The pitcher’s duel consisted of three and a half scoreless innings.
Dixon surrendered her first hit of the game to a two-run solo shot over the left-field fence after a one-out hit by pitch, 2-0. An RBI single that bounced just inside of the right-foul line brought in another FAU run, before Marshall was able to get the third out of the inning, 3-0.
The Owls notched another run on the board in the sixth on a Marshall fielding error in a sacrifice bunt situation, 4-0.
The Herd struggled to score and left five people stranded on base through seven innings of action.
FAU was able to shutout Marshall for its first C-USA victory ever, 4-0.
Dixon (3-9) suffered the loss and surrendered four hits, while Marshall was only able to connect for three. The Herd committed three errors to the Owls’ one.