Herd Uses Late-Inning Heroics to Defeat UTEP 7-4 Sunday

April 9, 2006

Box Score

EL PASO, Texas - Facing possibly its first conference series sweep of the season, the Marshall Thundering Herd scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over UTEP Sunday at Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

With the win, the Herd (23-17, 10-5 C-USA) moved into a second-place tie with UAB. Tulsa (11-4) leads Conference USA by a full game over the Herd and Blazers. The loss snapped the Miners' (19-24, 5-6 C-USA) six-game home winning streak.

Marshall starting pitcher Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) was dealt the no-decision. Ralston allowed three runs on six hits with two strikeouts in two innings. She also issued five free passes, including two walks and an intentional walk.

Reigning Conference USA Pitcher of the Week Abigail Harter (Monmouth, Ore./Santiam Christian) earned the victory in relief. Harter (10-8) came on in relief of Ralston in the third inning and allowed one run on three hits in five innings.

UTEP's Veronica Flournoy (9-7) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in seven innings, while striking out six batters.

Seniors Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) and Sara Spenia (Las Vegas, Nev./Durango) paced the Herd offensively, both going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Williams added her fifth home run of the season in the fifth inning.

Amber Bennett and Simone Holland each drove in two runs for the Miners.

Marshall cracked the scoreboard first with a solo home run by sophomore Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) in the first inning, taking an early 1-0 lead. For Folden, it was her 16th home run of the season. She needs two home runs to tie the C-USA single-season home run record set back in 2004 by USF's Holly Groves.



UTEP provided the equalizer in the bottom half of the first inning. Sarah Ramirez led off with a double down the right field line. Bennett was then hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Holland's RBI single to shallow left field plated Bennett, knotting the game at 1-1.

The Miners took their first lead of the contest in the ensuing inning, taking a 3-1 lead in the second. With two runners on and two out, Bennett plated Ramirez and Sara Hernandez with a two-RBI single to left field.

The Herd closed to the deficit to one run, 3-2, in the third inning. With one out, Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) chopped a single over the head of Flournoy. Two batters later, Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) singled through the right side of the infield, advancing Mitchell to third.

Deanna Tourville (Rescue, Calif./Ponderosa) followed with a bloop RBI single to shallow left field, scoring Mitchell.

UTEP threatened to score again in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with nobody out. However, Harter relieved Ralston and retired the side to get out of the jam.

Things began to unravel for the Herd in the fourth inning. With one out, Holland sent a solo home run over the left field fence to give UTEP a 4-2 lead. Ashley Perez followed with a triple to first field passed a diving Mitchell, but Harter retired the final two batters to escape further damage.

The Herd got back to within one run, 4-3, in the fifth on a solo home run to left field from Amanda Williams.

Marshall tied the game in the sixth at four apiece. Williams provided the game-tying RBI double to left-center field, scoring Spenia. Williams was later thrown out at third to end the inning.

The Herd completed its comeback in the seventh, taking its first lead since the first inning. Mitchell, Folden and Rodriguez each reached base safely before the first out was recorded. With one out, Jessica Williams slapped an RBI single through the left side, scoring Mitchell to give the Herd a 5-4 lead. Spenia followed with a two-RBI double to left field that scored Folden and Rodriguez, extending the Herd's lead to 7-4.

The Marshall Thundering Herd returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Richmond, Ky., to face Eastern Kentucky for a 2 p.m. non-conference doubleheader. The Herd will then return home to host Conference USA rival Houston for a three-game series beginning with a 3 p.m. doubleheader Friday at Dot Hicks Field.

Marshall 7, UTEP 4 (Apr 09, 2006 at El Paso, Texas)
Marshall............ 101 011 3 -  7 11  1      (23-17, 10-5 C-USA)
UTEP................ 120 100 0 -  4  9  1      (19-24, 5-6 C-USA)
Pitchers: Marshall - Veronica Ralston; Abigail Harter(3). UTEP - Veronica Flournoy.
Win-Abigail Harter(10-8)  Loss-Veronica Flournoy(9-7)  T-2:13  A-204