March 24, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Marshall University softball team (15-14) fell 13-5 in a six-inning mercy rule to UNC Greensboro in game one on Wednesday afternoon. The Herd would drop the second game of the doubleheader 3-1.
An early rally by UNCG (12-14) in the first inning of game one set the Thundering Herd behind three runs.
“Today was a tough day,” said head coach Shonda Stanton. “We just could not find it in the circle and UNCG did a great job of getting the extra base hits when they needed it.”
In the Spartans’ third at-bat, Alex Emeterio homered to left center to bring around Brittany Ausley. UNCG would tack on another run three batters later when Eileen Horsmon tripled to right to plate Kaitlin Merkt and hold a 3-0 lead over MU.
With two outs, Jordan Jewett would make it 4-0 in the second inning on a double that scored Laura Olenderski. Jewett would be caught out in the same play at third from Melissa Loesing to Jazmine Valle to end the inning.
Alianna Telles would answer right back in the third, with her seventh home run of the year – a two-RBI shot to left center that plated Ashley Gue and put the Herd within reach at 4-2.
Rachel Rillo would come in for relief for Marshall in the bottom of the third as Katie Murphree would leave the circle after 2.0 innings and four strikeouts.
A double by Horsmon and a homer by Katie Stripling in the third stretched the Spartan lead to 8-2. Emily Akiyama and Emeterio scored on the hit while Stripling and Horsmon came home on the long ball.
With bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, Valle would come home on a wild pitch to put the score at 8-3. Valle would finish the game 2-for-2 at the dish with one run scored and one RBI.
“We had opportunities and were one big hit away in a number of innings from changing the game,” Stanton said.
The Spartan bats kept rolling in the bottom of the fourth as an Emeterio single would bring home Ausley, putting the score at 9-3. The Herd would then bring in Jessica Ferrick to pitch; Rillo left the circle after 1.0 innings. Ferrick would close the final 2.1 innings of the game.
Akiyama responded with a single down the left field line to score Jewett, unearned, to give the Spartans a 10-3 lead. MU would catch Emeterio out at home on the play and put out the next two batters to retire the inning.
In the fifth, Valle would single down left to score Bri Anna Hope and put Caitlyn Jackson in scoring position at third. Melanie Stoehr would then plate Jackson with a sacrifice fly to center ending the inning at 10-5.
The MU rally wasn’t enough as the Herd would eventually fall 13-5 in the bottom of the sixth after Jewett scored on an Emeterio single, followed by a Merkt home run to plate Emeterio.
Murphree garnered the loss, moving her to 9-8 on the year. UNCG’s Cory Mattson (7-6) would tally the win after five innings pitched, while Raeanne Hanks came in during the sixth to close the game for the Spartans.
Game two saw new direction from the Herd defense as MU would retire the side, in order, in the first two innings. Jackson would come out strong in the circle in the second inning, tallying two strikeout’s looking and one swinging to strikeout the side.
Marshall would also make the first offensive strike, as a Hope single through the left side in the third inning brought around Loesing from third to take a 1-0 lead.
Jackson would come back once again in the fifth to retire three-straight batters; one looking and back-to-back swinging, putting her at seven strikeouts leading into the sixth frame.
UNCG didn’t back away in the bottom of the sixth, as an Akiyama home run scored Ausley and Emeterio and gave the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
“Caitlyn did a fantastic job, unfortunately in the sixth after the walk and hit-by-pitch, the three-run homer was all they needed,” Stanton said. “I am proud of the way she pitched and we will need that from her in Conference USA play.”
The Herd was unable to come back in the top of the seventh as MU dropped the second game 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon.
Jackson (3-6) went the distance in the loss, striking out a season-high seven batters along the way. Amber Harrell would take the win for UNCG, moving her to 15-9 on the season.
“I saw some good things from this group in game two,” said Stanton. “Now it is all about getting focused for ECU.”
Marshall softball will continue on the road as it faces Conference USA opponent ECU in a doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. The Herd will then play a noon contest on Sunday to finish the series.