@HerdSB With Team Record 16 Stolen Bases in win over Delaware State
Marshall finished one away from NCAA record
STATESBORO, Ga. – The Marshall softball team ripped off a team record 16 stolen bases Sunday in a 9-3 win over Delaware State. The Thundering Herd finished one steal away from the NCAA record of 17 set by Nichols State versus St. Peter’s on April 1, 1994. Marshall improved to 14-4 overall while the Hornets fell to 1-7.
Six Herd players contributed to break the team thefts record of 11 set at Middle Tennessee on April 10, 2015, and the Conference USA record of 12 by East Carolina against UNC Wilmington on March 28, 2012.
Morgan Zerkle led the way on the bases as she first broke Kaelynn Greene’s career mark of 141 stolen bases, and then tied Greene’s single game record of five set against Toledo on March 15, 2016. Shaelynn Braxton recorded a career-high four steals, Elicia D’Orazio, Eloise Tribolet and Abigail Estrada added two apiece and Hayden Ellis chipped in with her first career theft.
The Herd started thieving right from the beginning in the bottom of the first. D’Orazio led off with a single up the middle and then proceeded to steal second and third. McCord dropped down a bunt that died just a few feet away from the plate as D’Orazio crossed the plate for the first run. Tribolet came in to run for McCord. Braxton reached on an error at short and then Tribolet and Braxton pulled off the double steal and advanced the next 60 feet. Briana Daiss was walked to load the bases.
Nobody needed to steal a base next as Ali Burdette, the hero from the night before with a seventh inning two-run home run against Georgia Southern, cranked the first pitch of the at-bat well over the fence in left for a grand slam. Marshall led 5-0.
The Herd wasn’t finished with steals in the first inning as Estrada reached on a base hit to left. Ellis got on base as the defense attempted to retire Estrada at second but the sophomore outfielder slid into the base in time. Estrada and Ellis then went for the double steal to move into scoring position. Marshall had six stolen bases in the first inning alone.
Zerkle led off the second inning with a bunt single and then stole her way into the history books with her 142nd career stolen base as she moved into scoring position. Zerkle proceeded to steal third and then home as Braxton stole second. Marshall now led 6-0.
Burdette received the start in the circle for Marshall and held the Hornets in check through the first three innings allowing just two hits. Delaware State finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth with one run. The Herd led 6-1.
Marshall added two more runs and one more steal in the fourth to build the lead out to seven, 8-1, and bring the stolen base total to 11. With one out, Zerkle ripped her 10th career triple, tying her for first all-time with Marshall Athletic Hall of Famer Cristy Waring (1995-98). Two batters later Zerkle scored as Daiss reached on an error by the shortstop. Tribolet recorded her second steal of the game in the inning to tie the Marshall team record.
Braxton was the final run of the fourth, crossing the plate after a bases loaded walk to Samantha Loose.
The Hornets added one more run in the fifth to cut the Marshall lead to six. The Herd didn’t score in the bottom of the fifth inning but Zerkle stole two more bases to break the Conference USA single game record and put the Herd’s total to 13. Zerkle also tied Greene’s single game mark for the Herd when she took third base for her fifth.
Delaware State still had some fight left as the Hornets added one more run in the sixth to cut the lead to five, 8-3. Kailee Williamson came into the game for Marshall with one out and two runners on base. Williamson got a ground out to D’Orazio at second and then a strikeout to end the inning and strand both runners.
In the bottom of the sixth, Marshall tacked on one more run as well and adding three more stolen bases. Braxton led off with a walk and then stole second and third. The senior then scored on an error by the shortstop. Estrada reached on another infield error and then stole second to put the final game total at 16 for the Herd.
Williamson and the defense finished off the Hornets in the top of the seventh as two more runners were stranded on base.
Morgan Zerkle was named the Dot Hicks Significant Sticker Award winner with her record-breaking day. Zerkle was 3-for-4 at the plate with five steals, two runs scored and a triple. Defensively, the senior shortstop added five assists. Zerkle finished the tournament batting .647 over the five games with 11 hits, six runs, four RBIs, two doubles, one triple and 12 stolen bases.
Head Coach Shonda Stanton
“Once again Burdette came up with the big blast to give us the early lead. She gave us a great start in the circle as well. We still need to improve on putting teams away but we were pleased with our overall aggressiveness on the base paths. Zerkle was fun to watch play today being able to go long for the triple, lay down the bunt singles and then break the all-time stolen base record. She is tough to defend and did a great job on her read to steal home.”
“We have completed phase one of the journey, winning 14 of 18 games on the road, and the great thing is that we still have plenty of room to improve. Our emphasis will remain on individual, singular focus and taking the ‘what’s important now’ mentality to create a consistent process of success.”
“It will be refreshing to be home finally with our C-USA opener. This is a special group of athletes and we look forward to seeing our fans at the Dot this weekend.”
Marshall opens Conference USA action as the UTSA Roadrunners come to Huntington, March 11-12.