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Herd Earns Conference USA Twin Bill Split at East Carolina Saturday

April 1, 2006

GREENVILLE, N.C. - After a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in game one, the Marshall Thundering Herd rebounded with a 2-0 win in game two to earn a Conference USA doubleheader split at East Carolina Saturday afternoon.

With its loss in game one, Marshall (20-15, 8-3 C-USA) snapped its seven-game Conference USA winning streak. East Carolina dropped to 24-16 overall and 2-6 in Conference USA action.

The Herd again relied on a pair of stellar pitching performances from Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) and Abigail Harter (Monmouth, Ore./Santiam Christian). The Herd duo combined to allow just five hits in 13 1/3 innings.

Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) led the Herd's offensive attack, going 3-for-7 with a double and an RBI.

Game 1 (East Carolina 2, Marshall 1)

Game 1 Box Score

East Carolina scored one run in the first and seventh innings, snapping Marshall's seven-game Conference USA winning streak, to take a 2-1 win in game one.

Ralston (11-8) suffered her first loss in Conference USA play, allowing two runs on three hits in 6 1/3 innings. She struck out four batters in the loss.

East Carolina starting pitcher Keli Harrell (13-10) was able to silence the Herd bats, striking out eight in a complete-game two-hitter.

East Carolina cracked the scoreboard first in the opening frame. Vanessa Moreno drew a lead-off walk and later advanced to second on a fielder's choice. Moreno then advanced to third on Krista Jessup's sacrifice bunt. Jessica Johnson followed with an RBI fielder's choice, plating Moreno for a 1-0 ECU lead.

Harrell was able to hold the powerful Thundering Herd offense hitless until the fourth inning. Williams led off with a single to right-center field, snapping Harrell's streak of 14 2/3 consecutive innings of no-hit ball. However, the Herd was unable to plate a run, trailing the Pirates 1-0 after 3 1/2 innings.

Marshall evened the score in the seventh inning, knotting the game at 1-1. After an Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) strikeout, Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) singled up the middle for the Herd's second hit of game one.

Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) then reached on a fielder's choice, while Noelle Adams (Wheeling, W.Va./The Linsly School) - pinch running for Folden - was thrown out at second on the play.

Courtney Kacenga (Sierra, Ariz./Buena) replaced Rodriguez as a pinch runner on first and then scored on a pair of fielding errors, tying the game.



However, East Carolina responded with the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to take the 2-1 win. Beth Nolan led off with a single down the left field line. Two batters later, Ashley Quick singled through the right side scoring the game-winning run as pinch runner Sarah Bibee slid under Folden's tag at home.

East Carolina 2, Marshall 1 (Apr 01, 2006 at Greenville, N.C.) (Game 1)
Marshall............ 000 000 1 -  1  2  1      (19-15, 7-3 C-USA)
East Carolina....... 100 000 1 -  2  3  2      (24-15, 2-5 C-USA)
Win-Keli Harrell(13-10)  Loss-Veronica Ralston(11-8)  T-1:34  A-121

Game 2 (Marshall 2, East Carolina 0)

Game 2 Box Score

The Thundering Herd exacted revenge on the Pirates in game two, turning out eight hits in a 2-0 game two victory.

Harter (8-7) earned her second consecutive Conference USA victory. Harter scattered two hits in a complete-game shutout, while striking out one.

ECU starting pitcher Brently Bridgeforth (3-4) was dealt the loss, allowing two runs on eight hits in seven innings.

Marshall struck first in the third inning, taking an early 1-0 lead. Kacenga reached on a fielding error by Joyce Roodenburg to lead off the inning. Amanda Williams followed with an RBI double to left-center field, plating Kacenga.

The Herd then loaded the bases after a Folden intentional walk and an infield single by Rodriguez. However, the Herd was unable to push across any additional runners, ending the inning with a one-run lead.

Harter took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but Nolan broke it up with a lead-off double to left field. However, Harter was able to smother the Pirates' scoring chance, keeping the Herd's 1-0 lead intact.

Marshall added an insurance run in the seventh inning, increasing its lead to 2-0. With two runners on and one out, Sara Spenia (Las Vegas, Nev./Durango) scored on a Quick fielding error. The Herd had a chance to increase its two-run lead, but Williams was thrown out at home attempting to score on Folden's fly out.

The Thundering Herd will conclude its three-game Conference USA series with the ECU Pirates Sunday. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. at ECU Softball Field.

Marshall 2, East Carolina 0 (Apr 01, 2006 at Greenville, N.C.) (Game 2)
Marshall............ 001 000 1 -  2  8  2      (20-15, 8-3 C-USA)
East Carolina....... 000 000 0 -  0  2  2      (24-16, 2-6 C-USA)
Pitchers: Marshall - Abigail Harter. East Carolina - Brently Bridgeforth.
Win-Abigail Harter(8-7)  Loss-Brently Bridgeforth(3-4)  T-1:35  A-121