April 5, 2014
Box Score (Game 1)
Box Score (Game 2)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Marshall softball (14-23, 5-6 C-USA) came from behind twice to secure its second Conference USA series of the season on Saturday against Middle Tennessee (7-31, 2-11 C-USA) at the Blue Raiders Softball Field.
The Thundering Herd secured a one-run victory in Game 1 after three lead changes and four pitching changes between the two teams. The schools combined for 17 runs, 18 hits and four errors.
The senior duo of Savanah Webster (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Taylor Winton (Federal Way, Wash.) were a combined 6-for-8 in Game 1, contributing three runs and three RBI. Webster connected for her third long ball of the season with an off-the-scoreboard homer.
Marshall took a four-run victory in Game 2 after tying the game twice and not being able to take a lead until the sixth inning. The teams combined for 16 runs, 21 hits and three errors.
The Braxton sisters (Woodbridge, Va.) both contributed home runs in Game 2 and were a combined 4-for-7 with four runs and five RBI. Sophomore Shaelynn Braxton tied Samantha Rodriguez (2007) for seventh on Marshall's single-season home run list with her 11th blast of the season. Junior Kristina Braxton hit a two-out, two-run shot for her second of the season in the top of the seventh.
Marshall will play for the three-game sweep Sunday at 1 p.m., before heading back to Huntington, W.Va. to prepare for a midweek doubleheader against Northern Kentucky in Newport, Ky.
Marshall 9, Middle Tennessee 8
The Blue Raiders took the initial lead in the first contest of the day between the new conference foes.
A one-out walk was followed by a shot over the center-field wall to give Middle Tennessee a 2-0 lead over Marshall in the bottom of the first inning.
The Herd fought back in the top of the following inning, tying the ball game.
It started with a one-out home run from Webster (3-for-4) and was kept alive by Winton’s (3-for-4) two-out double down the right-field line. Junior Emileigh Cooper (Jackson, Ohio) followed the upperclassmen’s lead, connecting for a single that dropped into left field and led to a Blue Raiders error, allowing Winton to score and tie the ball game at 2 apiece.
The senior duo started things up again in the top of the fourth. Beginning with a Webster single, sophomore Katalin Lucas (Agua Dulce, Calif.) laid down the perfect sacrifice bunt to move over freshman pinch runner Jessica Watts (Wayne, W.Va.).
Winton gave Marshall its first lead of the game with a one-out RBI single down the left-field line to put the Herd up 3-2. The senior was out on the following play due to a fielder’s choice that allowed Cooper to reach first safely. After stealing second, Cooper scored on an RBI single from K. Braxton to make Marshall's advantage 4-2.
Middle Tennessee took the momentum, and the lead, in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with a one-out double, followed by an infield single and a walk.
The Blue Raiders scored five runs off of four hits and one error to take a 7-4 lead over the Herd.
Marshall didn’t fold, leading off the top of the fifth with back-to-back singles. After a fielder's choice, Webster singled into right field to load the bases and Lucas drew a walk for an RBI and to shrink the Middle Tennessee lead to 7-5.
A wild pitch advanced all runners, bringing freshman pinch runner Jennifer Brumfield (Ona, W.Va.) across the plate to put Marshall within one of the Blue Raiders. Winton connected for an RBI single to tie the game and a throw to check her at first allowed Lucas to steal home and give Marshall a one-run lead at 8-7.
A Middle Tennessee one-out solo shot over the right-field fence tied the ball game at 8 apiece in the bottom of the fifth, but Marshall struck again in the top of the sixth.
Sophomore Kaelynn Greene (Eastvale, Calif.) led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a freshman Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W.Va.) sacrifice bunt. Greene scored off of an RBI single from S. Braxton, which gave the Herd its third lead of the game at 9-8.
Neither team scored again and after three lead changes and two Marshall pitching changes, freshman Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.) was credited with the victory (10-15).
Marshall outhit Middle Tennessee 12-to-6 and both teams committed two errors in the game.
Marshall 10, Middle Tennessee 6
The second game of the day started in similar fashion to the first with the Blue Raiders taking the initial lead of the game in the bottom of the first.
After a one-out solo shot just fair of the left-field foul pole gave Middle Tennessee an early 1-0 lead, a bunt single and back-to-back RBI doubles extended the Blue Raiders lead to 3-0.
Marshall took three innings to find its way onto the board, shrinking the lead in the top of the third on two outs with a first and third play. Zerkle stole second, distracting the Blue Raiders long enough to allow Greene to rush home to cut the lead to 3-1.
The Herd was able to rack up a pair of runs in the fourth to tie the game at 3 apiece.
Webster led off the inning with an off-the-wall double. Watts then stepped in to pinch run and scored off of a one-out RBI single from sophomore Raquel Escareno (Wellington, Colo.) to pull the Herd within a 3-2 margin.
Brumfield took over for Escareno on the bases and scored from second on a single-turned-error from sophomore pinch hitter Alyssa Cook (West Hamlin, W.Va.) to tie the game at 3-all.
The Blue Raiders refused to give up the lead and regained it in the bottom of the inning with three runs off of one hit, one error, four walks (one intentional) and a passed ball to take a 6-3 lead.
Marshall refused to go down without a fight, and tied the game in the top of the fifth.
Greene led off the inning, reaching base on a fielding error by the Blue Raiders pitcher. Zerkle bunted to the circle and made it to first safely, putting two on with no outs. Both runners advanced on a double steal and scored on an S. Braxton (2-for-4) double that bounced just fair of the right-field line to cut the margin to 6-5.
S. Braxton advanced to third on a ground out to first base and scored off of an RBI single from Lucas to tie the contest at 6 apiece.
After holding off the Blue Raiders in the bottom of the fifth, the Herd struck again – this time to take the lead.
After a lead-off single from K. Braxton (2-for-4), who advanced to second on a groundout to first, Zerkle doubled down the right-field line to earn an RBI and give Marshall its first lead of the day at 7-6.
In an attempt to stretch the hit to a triple, Zerkle was thrown out at third. With bases cleared and two outs on the board, S. Braxton connected for a blast to push the Herd ahead by two at 8-6.
Marshall stretched its lead in top of the final inning with a two-out, two-run long ball from K. Braxton to give the Herd a four-run cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh at 10-6.
Dixon (11-15) earned the victory, and the Herd outhit the Blue Raiders 14-to-7 and committed one less error than Middle Tennessee (2).