April 6, 2014
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Marshall softball (15-23, 6-6 C-USA) earned its fifth consecutive win of the season over Middle Tennessee (7-32, 2-12 C-USA) in the Conference USA series finale to record the Thundering Herd's first three-game sweep of the season.
It was also the team's second series victory, topping East Carolina earlier this season as well.
Marshall's last conference three-game sweep was over 2013 C-USA member Memphis on March 29-30 last season.
Senior Savanah Webster (Las Vegas, Nev.) connected for her second homer of the series and fourth of the season with a lead-off, line-drive home run in the sixth inning.
Offensively, Marshall is dominating. After recording 10 hits in today's game, the Herd now has had four consecutive games with double-digit hits (10 games total on the season).
Freshman Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.) earned her fifth consecutive win in today's contest. Through the weekend, she pitched 14.1 innings and had 15 strikeouts.
Marshall will head back to Huntington, W.Va. to prepare for a midweek doubleheader against Northern Kentucky in Newport, Ky.
Marshall 8, Middle Tennessee 4
Unlike both games in the doubleheader yesterday, Marshall was first to notch a run onto the board and with it, took an early 1-0 lead in the series finale.
Freshman Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W.Va.) reached on a one-out walk, and after stealing her 28th base of the year, scored on a Middle Tennessee throwing error that allowed sophomore Shaelynn Braxton (Woodbridge, Va.) to reach safely.
The Herd used another Blue Raiders error to its advantage in the top of the second, putting another run on the board to stretch its lead.
Senior Taylor Winton
(Federal Way, Wash.), like Zerkle in the previous inning, reached on a one-out walk. Freshman pinch runner Jessica Watts
(Wayne, W.Va.) advanced to second on a wild pitch and made it safely to third after tagging up on a flyout to right field. An error that allowed junior Kristina Braxton
(Woodbridge, Va.) to reach first safely brought Watts across the dish to make the score 2-0.
The Blue Raiders took one back in the bottom of the second off of one hit and one error to shrink the Herd's lead to 2-1.
Marshall fired up its offense in the top of the third and went through the entire lineup in the inning. The Herd had six batters reach base safely and four runners score before the first out of the inning was recorded.
S. Braxton led the inning off with a walk. She advanced safely to third on a hard-hit single from Webster (3-for-4). Sophomore Katalin Lucas (Agua Dulce, Calif.) connected for an RBI single that caused an infield and outfield collision, but scored a Marshall runner and put two on second and third safely to push MU's advantage to 3-1.
Escareno reached on a fielder's choice that scored Webster, a play in which MTSU attempted to tag out Lucas (3-for-4), but failed to do so to make the score 4-1.
Winton (1-for-1) kept the rally going with an RBI single to bring Lucas home. Escareno also scored on the play when the MTSU throw went to first.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Herd struck again in the fifth. Winton was hit to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior Emileigh Cooper (Jackson, Ohio). With one out on the board, K. Braxton singled into right field to put runners on first and third. Winton scored on a two-out, RBI-bunt single from Zerkle to give the Herd a 7-1 lead.
After two hitless innings, the Blue Raiders connected for three singles to push a runner across the plate to cut the MU lead to 7-2.
Webster took the run back instantaneously with a leadoff home run off the third pitch of the sixth inning to push the lead back to 8-2.
Middle Tennessee notched two additional runs in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run to make it a four-run game at 8-4.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning, settling the score at 8-4 and giving Dixon (12-15) the victory.
Marshall outhit Middle Tennessee 10-to-6. The Herd committed one error in the seven innings, while the Blue Raiders recorded two miscues.