April 7, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas—The Marshall softball team (25-13, C-USA 11-4) won its fourth-consecutive, conference series against Houston (25-12, C-USA 9-3) at the Cougar Softball Stadium on Sunday, April 7. The Thundering Herd earned the 5-4 win in its first televised game of the season.
Freshman powerhouses Shaelynn Braxton (1-for-3) and Raquel Escareno (2-for-3) were responsible for all the runs of the game. Braxton earned four RBI’s with a three-run homer and sacrifice fly, while Escareno connected for a solo-shot over the center-field fence.
Marshall came out prepared, loud and forceful in front of a crowd of 756. The first inning was initiated with a lead-off single from freshman Kaelynn Greene (1-for-3). Senior Ashley Gue recorded her tenth sacrifice hit of the season to move her teammate to second, while senior Jazmine Valle(2-for-4) hit in the left-side gap to put Houston in a first and third situation. Braxton stepped up to the dish and smashed her fifth homer of the season, second of the series, over the center-field fence to put the Herd up by three.
Houston was retired in order in the bottom half of the inning to bring Marshall back up to the plate.
Escareno stepped into the batters’ box and blasted her fourth home run of the season to extend the lead with the only run and hit in the top of the second inning. Similarly, Cougars’ Kayla Holland earned the first hit for her team with a solo-shot over the fence for the only run and hit of the bottom of the inning, 4-1.
The Cougars sat the Herd down in the third, but not before committing an error. They returned to the plate and scored a run on two outs with a right-side, RBI single from Cougars’ Kendra Cullum, 4-2.
The fourth inning was scoreless, but the Herd struck again in the fifth.
Gue drew a one-out walk from Houston’s hurler Diedre Outon and advanced to third on a shot up the middle from Valle. Gue tagged and scored on an RBI-sacrifice fly from Braxton to stretch the lead, 5-2. Junior Savanah Webster (1-for-4) hit her third double of the season, but was left stranded, along with Valle, after a grounder ended the inning.
Cougars shrunk the lead in the bottom of the inning after a hit by pitch, single and Marshall error loaded the bases from senior Andi Williamson. Holland drew a hit by pitch from Williamson for an RBI and kept bases loaded for Houston, but the Herd got out of the inning still leading by two, 5-3.
Marshall was in position to score in the top of the sixth after two drawn walks, a single and sacrifice bunt loaded the bases with only one out of the board. A fielder’s choice forced an out at home plate and a strikeout ended the bases-loaded inning.
The Herd kept the Cougars off the board in the bottom of the sixth and was retired in order in the top of the final inning.
Houston had fans at the edges of their seats in the bottom of the seventh after a walk and a double to right-center put runners on second and third with no outs. A run scored on a one-out grounder to short stop for the second out of the inning, but moved the tying run to third base. Williamson ended the game and secured her 24th win of the season with a strikeout.
Both teams had seven hits and one error. Houston left eight runners stranded on base, while Marshall left seven on base.
Williamson had eight strike outs on the day and threw 116 pitches for strikes.
The Herd will return to Huntington, W.Va. for a busy midweek schedule before facing off conference opponent East Carolina. On Tuesday, April 9 Marshall will travel to Lexington, Ky. for a single-game against No. 20/21 Kentucky at 5:00 p.m. ET. The Herd will turn around and play a doubleheader at 2:00 p.m. ET against Northern Kentucky on Wednesday, April 10 in attempt to keep the “Dot” undefeated.