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Marshall Drops Two in C-USA Opener Against No. 21/22 Tulsa

Sophomore Emileigh Cooper gets her first 2013 start.

March 9, 2013

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TULSA, Okla.- Marshall softball fell short in the Conference USA opener against Tulsa today, Saturday, March 9 at the Collins Family Softball Complex. The Golden Hurricane shutout the Thundering Herd 6-0 in game one and defeated it 9-6 in game two.

Sophomore Emileigh Cooper was put in the lineup for the Herd for the first time this 2013 season. She went 2-for-3 with a two-run homerun and double down the right field line.

The double header started with a quick 1-0 Tulsa lead after a walk and single to right center put runners in scoring position. The Golden Hurricane's Jill Barrett scored on a fielder's choice, and a grounder to senior Bri Anna Hope ended the one-run inning.

Junior Savanah Webster reached base on a walk in the top of the second. Marshall's Cooper was brought in to pinch run for Webster and advanced to second on freshman Kaelynn Greene's (2-for-3) single to third base. Both runners moved over on a wild pitch by Tulsa's hurler Aimee Creger, but were left stranded in scoring position.

Senior Andi Williamson and the Herd were able to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out second inning with a force out at third base to allow Marshall another chance at the plate.

Two 1-2-3 innings kept the score 1-0, bringing senior Alysia Hively (1-for-3) up to the plate in the top of the fifth inning. Hively gave the Herd momentum with a single up the middle. Kristina Braxton was brought in to pinch run for Hively. Senior Taylor Winton attempted a sacrifice bunt and was called safe at first on the second baseman's error. Freshman Alexandra Bayne was brought in to pinch run for Winton. Senior Ashley Gue approached the plate with one out and attempted another sacrifice bunt, but was also called safe on another error by Tulsa's second baseman. A strikeout and pop up to the shortstop would end the inning with bases loaded for the Herd.

Marshall was able to keep the Golden Hurricane off of the board in bottom half of the fifth.

The sixth inning roughed up the Herd after a Haley Henshaw double to left center put the momentum of the game in Tulsa's favor. After Julie Kernen reached first on a walk, she and Henshaw scored off of Shelby Blanton's triple to left center pushing Tulsa ahead of the Herd 3-0. Marshall got its first out of the inning on a strikeout, but not before a Cassidy Bowen double brought in the fourth run of the inning. The Herd's freshman pitcher Halie Vance was brought in to relieve Williamson after a single up the middle put another Golden Hurricane on base. Vance struck out Barrett for the second out of the inning, but gave up a single that scored the fifth and final run of the inning, extending the lead 6-0.

Marshall was unable to score in the final inning of game one and left a total of eight runners stranded on base. The Herd only registered three hits against Tulsa's Creger, who recorded a total of 14 strikeouts.

The first pitch of game two was thrown at 2:25 p.m. CT. The first three Marshall hitters were sat down by Golden Hurricane's starting pitcher Lacey Middlebrooks.

Tulsa scored quick in the first inning after a walk, error and stolen base put runners in scoring position. Creger hit a one-out, two-RBI single up the middle to give the Golden Hurricane a two-run lead. Williamson was substituted in for Vance with two outs to go in the bottom half of the first, but the Herd was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout and line out to Hively.

The Herd and Tulsa were scoreless in the second inning, but Marshall found some drive in the third after Gue's (2-for-3) one-out double. An error on the Golden Hurricane's third baseman put Greene(1-for-4) on base, but a fielder's choice would force her out at second. Hope robbed Tulsa of second base, and senior Jazmine Valle's (1-for-3) squeezed bunt allowed Gue to score the first run for the Herd.

Tulsa loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but Williamson and the Herd kept the Golden Hurricane from scoring.

Webster took first base on a hit by pitch and advanced on Hively's (1-for-3) one-out single up the middle. Freshman Raquel Escareno (2-for-4) smashed a three-run homerun to give the Herd a 4-2 lead in the top of the third. Hively hit into a double play forcing Cooper out at home and ending the inning.

Tulsa's Caitlin Everett, who reached base on a Marshall error, scored off a Barrett single in the bottom of the fourth, shrinking the Herd lead to 4-3.

After being unable to score in the top of the fifth, Marshall's defense stepped back onto the field. With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, the Golden Hurricane strung together two doubles and a three-run homer to bring in a total of six runs and take a 9-4 lead.

Marshall's Escareno singled to third to reach first base, allowing Cooper's homerun, and first 2013 hit, to be a two-run bomb that shrunk the Tulsa lead to 9-6.

The Herd was unable to score again, falling 2-0 to Tulsa in the C-USA opener. Marshall outhit the Golden Hurricane 9-to-7 in game two. Both teams' left 10 runners stranded on base and had three errors.

Both teams will resume play Sunday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. CT for the last game of the series.