Ralston, Offense Lead Herd to 7-2 Rubber Match Victory over East Carolina Sunday

April 2, 2006

Box Score

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Propelled by a six-run fifth inning, the Marshall Thundering Herd exploded for 11 hits en route to a convincing 7-2 win over East Carolina Sunday at ECU Softball Field.

Marshall (21-15, 9-3 C-USA) has now won nine of its last 10 conference games, evening its Conference USA road record to 3-3. East Carolina fell to 24-17 overall and 2-7 in Conference USA with its second straight loss to the Herd.

Marshall starting pitcher Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) nailed down her fifth win in Conference USA play, earning the victory. Ralston (12-8) allowed two runs in five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Junior Abigail Harter (Monmouth, Ore./Santiam Christian) pitched a 1 1/3 innings of near-perfect relief.

East Carolina ace and reigning Conference USA Pitcher of the Week Keli Harrell (13-11) was dealt the loss, surrendering five runs on nine hits in four innings.

Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) and Deanna Tourville (Rescue, Calif./Ponderosa) each went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Leigh Wintter (Acworth, Ga./North Cobb) went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run - her second blast of the season.

Unlike Saturday, the Herd wasn't hindered by a slow start, taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) led off the Herd attack with a double to left-center field. Two batters later, Williams scored on an RBI single through the left side by Folden.

With her double, Williams surpassed former teammate Sierra Davenport as the Herd's all-time hits leader with her 239th career hit.

Three innings later, Marshall threatened to extend its lead, rattling the oft-steady Harrell. Tourville reached on a throwing error by Harrell to lead off the inning. Jessica Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) then advanced Tourville to second with an infield single.



Wintter drew a walk to load the bases for Sara Spenia (Las Vegas, Nev./Durango). Spenia grounded to ECU second baseman Paige Baggett, who threw Tourville out at home on the force. Harrell then retired the Herd's next two batters to end the fourth inning.

However, the Herd would add to its lead in the ensuing inning, scoring six runs to take an insurmountable 7-0 advantage. Marshall led off with six consecutive hits before recording an out. Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) began the six-run frame with a single through the left side and later scored on an RBI single by Folden.

After a Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) double, Tourville followed with a two-RBI bunt single. Following a Jessica Williams infield single, Wintter cleared the bases with a three-run home run to center field to cap off the six-run frame.

East Carolina broke its scoreless drought in the sixth inning on Vanessa Moreno's solo home run to left field. Two batters later, Krista Jessup hit a solo home run to left field, cutting the Herd lead to 7-2.

Harter then replaced Ralston in the circle and shut down the Pirates, allowing one base runner over the final 1 1/3 innings.

The Thundering Herd returns home Tuesday, April 4 to face former Mid-American Conference rival Miami University at Dot Hicks Field. Game time is set for 5 p.m. Fans can listen to the game live on WMUL 88.1 FM or on the web at www.marshall.edu/wmul. Live stats will be available at www.HerdZone.com .

Marshall 7, East Carolina 2 (Apr 02, 2006 at Greenville, N.C.)
Marshall............ 100 060 0 -  7 11  0      (21-15, 9-3 C-USA)
East Carolina....... 000 002 0 -  2  5  2      (24-17, 2-7 C-USA)
Pitchers: Marshall - Veronica Ralston; Abigail Harter(6).
East Carolina - Keli Harrell; Stephanie Hayes(5); Brooke Swann(5).
Win-Veronica Ralston(12-8)  Loss-Keli Harrell(13-11)  T-2:03  A-190