Herd Ends Recent Offensive Setbacks, Explodes During Twin Bill Sweep at Ohio


J.J. Bitner's three hits Wednesday snapped a 1-for-24 slump.

J.J. Bitner's three hits Wednesday snapped a 1-for-24 slump.

April 18, 2007

ATHENS, Ohio - After suffering through a recent dry spell offensively, the Marshall Thundering Herd offense exploded for 18 runs on 24 hits en route to an emphatic doubleheader sweep of the Ohio Bobcats Wednesday.

During the doubleheader sweep, Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) became the national leader in walks with 43 free passes - including her 13th intentional walk. Folden finished the day 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Fellow junior slugger Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) added four RBI on the afternoon, while J.J. Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) snapped a 1-for-24 drought with three hits.

With the twin bill sweep, the Herd (25-22) extended its series winning streak with the Bobcats to six games. Former Mid-American Conference rival Ohio fell to 18-22 overall.

Game 1 (Marshall 7, Ohio 2)

Box Score

Entering game one, the Thundering Herd had recorded a combined 15 hits in its last four games. In the twin bill opener, Marshall rattled off 15 hits en route to a solid 7-2 win over the Ohio Bobcats.

The Herd's 15-hit outburst in game one were the second-most this season and the most since getting 10 hits in 12-9 loss to Southern Miss on April 6.

Freshman hurler Caitlyn Jackson (Ontario, Calif./Pomona Catholic) earned her second straight complete-game victory. Jackson (3-3) allowed two runs on five hits.

Ohio's Michelle Sauter (12-8) was dealt the loss after the Herd touched her four six runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Zoe Heim allowed one run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Rodriguez paced the Thundering Herd offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Kristina Knecht (Concord, Calif./Daytona Beach CC) had a team-high three hits, while Folden went 2-for-2 with three walks.

Marshall again depended on Rodriguez's hot bat to put the Herd on the board first. After a Folden lead-off walk, Rodriguez doubled down the right field line, scoring Folden for a 1-0 first inning lead. Rodriguez, however, was thrown out at third attempting to stretch the extra-base hit into a triple.

Ohio evened the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning. Debbie Szalejko lead off with a single to centerfield and later advanced to third before scoring on Kelly Rodriguez's RBI single.

Jackson did manage to load the bases after a Deanna Tourville (Rescue, Calif./Ponderosa) fielding error at third base. However, she forced Kristen Salvatore to pop out to Gina Guzzo (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville). Folden then picked off her conference-leading ninth runner, throwing out Candace Saucedo at third.

 

 

Game one would not stand at a one all tie for long as the Herd pushed across the go-ahead run in the second inning for a 2-1 lead. With one out, Rachael Sofie (Everett, Wash./Cascade) roped a single to left field. Sofie later scored on a Knecht bunt single and subsequent fielding error by Saucedo.

Folden added the Herd's third single of the inning, but was left stranded after Rodriguez struck out swinging.

Marshall squandered an opportunity to extend its lead in the fourth inning, leaving the bases loaded. During the fourth, Folden saw her nation-leading 13th intentional walk.

The Herd, however, would not pass up another scoring opportunity in the fifth inning, as Marshall hung a four-spot on Ohio for a 6-1 lead. Tourville doubled the Herd's lead with a solo home run to straightaway centerfield. Tourville's first homer of the season gave Marshall a 3-1 lead.

Bitner followed with an infield single, snapping a 1-for-24 slump, for her 60th hit of the season. Two batters later, Bitner scored on a Marcena Bertoldo (Rialto, Calif./Beaumont) RBI fielder's choice for a 4-1 Herd advantage.

Rodriguez would eventually add two more runs on the board for Marshall with a two-run fielding error by Ohio shortstop Amanda Sacks.

In the home half of the sixth inning, the Bobcats would take a run off the Herd's five-run lead with a solo home run by Kelly Rodriguez.

Sam Rodriguez added an RBI single in the seventh inning to extend Marshall's lead back to five runs, 7-2.

Marshall 7, Ohio 2 (04/18/07 at Athens, Ohio) (Game 1)
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Marshall............ 110 040 1 -  7 15  1      (24-22)
Ohio................ 100 001 0 -  2  5  5      (18-21)
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Pitchers: Marshall - Jackson, Caitlyn. Ohio - SAUTER, Michelle; HEIM, Zoe(5).
Win-JACKSON, Caitlyn(3-3)  Loss-SAUTER, Michelle(12-8)  T-1:50
HR MARSHALL - Tourville, Deanna (1). HR OHIO - RODRIGUEZ, Kelly (3).
Game 2 (Marshall 11, Ohio 3 - 6 innings)

Game 2 Box Score

Marshall continued its offensive explosion in game two, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead and eventually holding on for an 11-3 win.

Amanda Luers (Dover, Ohio/Dover) earned the complete-game win (9-5), allowing one earned run on five hits in six innings. Ohio's Natalie Armstrong (3-7) was the losing pitcher, allowing six runs on six hits in two innings.

Like game one, the Herd jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Folden scored on an Alicia Catlette fielding error.

Marshall added two more runs in the ensuing second inning, extending its lead to 3-0. Rachel Schmidt (Alliance, Ohio/Marlington) plated Bitner for the first of Marshall's two runs in the frame. Folden later added an RBI single, scoring Sofie for the three-run advantage.

The Herd doubled its lead in the third inning, pushing across three runs for a 6-0 lead. Jackson and Guzzo led off the inning with successive singles followed by a Tourville walk, loading the bases. Bitner's RBI single to centerfield scored pinch runner Tara Holmes (Sissonville, W.Va./Sissonville) for a 4-0 lead.

After Guzzo scored on a wild pitch, Bitner came around to score on a Bertoldo RBI single to right field for the six-run cushion.

Luers flirted with a no-hitter through the first three innings before Ohio touched the right-hander for two runs on three hits in the fourth. Ohio's two-run inning cut the Marshall lead to four runs, 6-2.

With two outs, Bertoldo was unable to cleanly field a Meagan McCutcheon ground ball, which would have ended the inning. Consequently, the Bobcats took advantage of the extra out as Kelly Rodriguez delivered a two-run home run over the centerfield fence.

Marshall added five insurance runs in the sixth inning for a commanding 11-2 lead. Both Rodriguez and Tourville contributed RBI doubles, adding to the nine-run advantage.

The Marshall Thundering Herd will return to "The Dot" for a pivotal three-game Conference USA series with the Memphis Tigers, beginning with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday. The series will conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. Saturday will also be Lil' Sis Day where members of the Herd softball team will recognize members of the Lil' Sis program between games.

Marshall 11, Ohio 3 (04/18/07 at Athens, Ohio) (Game 2)
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Marshall............ 123 005  - 11  9  1      (25-22)
Ohio................ 000 201  -  3  5  4      (18-22)
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Pitchers: Marshall - Luers, Amanda. Ohio - ARMSTRONG, Natalie; SAUCEDO, Candace(3).
Win-LUERS, Amanda(9-5)  Loss-ARMSTRONG, Natalie(3-7)  T-1:38  A-74
HR OHIO - FARRINGTON, Allie (2); RODRIGUEZ, Kelly (4).
ARMSTRONG faced 4 batters in the 3rd.