Gamby's Walk-off Home Run Secures Marshall Sweep|
April 8, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University softball team walked its way to a game one win and used some late inning heads up plays to sweep Radford Wednesday at Dot Hicks Field.
The Thundering Herd (21-10) took game one by a final of 8-2 thanks in large part to a five run third inning drawing three walks and two hit by pitches. Game two however saw the team battle back from two down to take a 6-5 victory in the eighth inning on a walk off home run by freshman Rebecca Gamby (Mount Victory, Ohio).
"This was a great way to finish a day; we found a way to win," head coach Shonda Stanton. "And what I'm excited about is we had a quite a few poor quality at-bats early and then late we got very smart offensively and to have clutch back-to-back-back doubles and the walk off homer is just huge.
"With this team, as long as you always have that last at-bat, that last out, we got a shot. So we're excited this is good momentum to go on to Central Florida." Up next Marshall will take off from its 18-game home streaking with a trip to Orlando for a three-game series against UCF starting April 10. The doubleheader begins with Friday at 3 p.m. EST. Gametracker for those contests will be available.
The Herd plated its first two runs in the bottom half of the second against the Highlanders (22-11) as sophomore Melanie Stoehr (Tacoma, Wash.) and Gamby both singled up the middle. Junior Marcena Bertoldo (Beaumont, Calif.) pushed the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.
Senior Rachael Sofie (Everett, Wash.) plated both Stoehr and Gamby with a hard shot to the second baseman that went through her legs giving Marshall a 2-0 lead after two innings before the team's five runs in the third.
Freshman Alianna Telles (Sylmar, Calif.) started things off with a single to the left side before senior Joscelyn Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va.) and junior Caitlyn Jackson (Ontario, Calif.). Stoehr then drew a third straight walk scoring Telles.
Gamby and Bertoldo were then plunked back-to-back scoring two more followed up by Sofie earned her second hit of the game as she singled up the middle. Sofie finished the contest 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Radford got on the board in the fourth as Sarah Himan doubled to center to start the inning. After a groundout and pop out, Jenn Everhart blasted a shot to left for a home run and cutting the lead to just five.
The Herd managed the eighth run in the bottom half of the inning as Jackson doubled to left center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. She ended up scoring after Stoehr picked up her second hit to right. Stoehr finished with two runs and two RBIs on two hits.
Reining C-USA Pitcher of the Week junior Katie Murphree (Tallahassee, Fla.) kept her momentum going with a complete game victory giving up just two earned runs with two strikeouts.
The Highlanders came out swinging in game two and plating its first run early as Leigh Godfrey singled to right and stolen second. Kristen Shifflett was then hit by a pitch before Nichole Bealle singled loading the bases with one out.
Senior Autumn Mitchell (Shady Spring, W.Va.) gave up the first run on the next batter as Everhart singled before Shifflett and Beall advanced on a passed ball. Another throw by Mitchell got passed Gamby bringing Shifflett home but Gamby managed to throw the ball back to Mitchell for the tag at the plate.
The lead would not last long as Telles stepped to the plate hitting a lead off and her fifth home run of the season tying the game at 1-1. Radford would take it second lead of the game in the third scoring two runs.
Godfrey picked up her second hit with a double to center but the next two batters went down on a pop and fly out as Godfrey advanced to third on the second out. Beall was then hit by a pitch before Everhart got another hit with a double scoring both runners.
In the fifth, the Highlanders expanded its lead to three after Godfrey singled again as Marshall pulled Mitchell for Jackson in the circle. Godfrey went to steal second and went to third on a ground out. She would score after Himan lined out to Stoehr at first and her throw to third went over the head of senior Kelly Nielson (Tucson, Ariz.) and into the outfield.
The Herd would try to rally in the fifth as Nielson came to the plate and hit her third home run of the season to centerfield. Bitner reached base with two outs on an infield single but was caught stealing second later.
Down two going into the bottom of the seventh, Marshall answered with back-to-back-to-back doubles from Bertoldo, Sofie and Nielson tying the game and forcing extra innings where the international tie breaker went into effect.
After scoring one run in the top half, Radford led 5-4 going into the bottom half. With Bitner starting the inning on second, Jackson grounded out to short advancing Bitner. Bitner scored on a heads up play as Stoehr grounded out, taking off from third and scoring.
With the game tied at 5-5 and another extra inning looming, Gamby came to the plate and nailed a shot to dead center to for a walk off home run to win the game preserving Marshall's first nonconference sweep since Georgetown last May.
"Early we played with a little too much fire. Putting runners on and defensively getting on our heels a little bit early. In game two, they made us pay getting out to an early lead but I couldn't be more proud of the girls because they continued to fight and found a way to win."