Herd Captures Sole Possession of First Place with C-USA Twin Bill Sweep of Tulsa Saturday

April 22, 2006

HUNTINGTON - Aided by a Southern Miss loss, the Marshall Thundering Herd moved into solo possession of first place in the Conference USA standings after sweeping the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday afternoon at Dot Hicks Field.

Thanks to the twin bill sweep, the Herd (29-20, 13-7 C-USA) ran its winning streak to five games - all at home. Tulsa (27-17, 11-7 C-USA), which entered the day in first place, has now lost three games in a row and four of its last five.

Sophomore Rachel Folden (Baldwin Park, Calif./Diamond Bar) broke out of a 5-for-30 slump, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI on the afternoon. In game one, Folden blasted her team- and conference-leading 17th home run of the season, while becoming the first player in school history to record back-to-back 50-plus RBI seasons.

Amanda Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) and Leigh Wintter (Acworth, Ga./North Cobb) each drove in two runs for the Herd. Jessica Williams (Powder Springs, Ga./Harrison) saw her nine-game hitting streak come to an end in game one. However, Williams rebounded with a two-hit performance in the second game.

Jessica Barr paced the Golden Hurricane offensively, going 4-for-5. Sara Dyer and Julie Shafer each drove in two runs on the day.

Game 1 (Marshall 7, Tulsa 5)

Game 1 Box Score

The Herd jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead after two innings and was able to turn back a furious Golden Hurricane rally, taking a 7-5 win in game one.

Abigail Harter (Monmouth, Ore./Santiam Christian) toed the rubber for her third straight complete-game victory. Harter (13-9) surrendered five runs on 12 hits, while striking out two batters.

Tulsa's Maren Genow was dealt the loss, allowing seven runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. Katie Lee scattered two hits in 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Marshall cracked the scoreboard first, pushing across two runs in the opening frame to take a 2-0 lead. After a lead-off walk, Amanda Williams advanced to second on an Ashley Mitchell (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison) sacrifice bunt. Folden then cleared the bases with a two-run home run off the Cam Henderson Center brick façade in right-center field.

The Herd added five runs in the second inning to take a monumental 7-0 lead. Samantha Rodriguez (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and Sara Spenia (Las Vegas, Nev./Durango) each drew free passes to lead off the inning. J.J. Bitner's (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) bunt single then loaded the bases.

Williams followed with a two-RBI double to right-center field, extending the Herd's lead to 4-0. Bitner then scored on Mitchell's RBI bunt single in front of home plate. Three batters later, Wintter's two-RBI double down the left field line scored Mitchell and Folden for the seven-run cushion.

With the Herd scoring in the first two innings, it extended its consecutive innings-scored streak to nine frames, dating back to the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. However, the Herd was held scoreless the rest of the way, snapping the streak.



Tulsa made a furious fourth-inning rally, scoring five runs on seven hits to cut the Herd's lead to 7-5. Sara Dyer's two-run home run helped the Golden Hurricane break onto the scoreboard. Later in the inning, Brooke Smart's RBI single to right field scored Angela Osbon.

Julie Shafer then plated Stephanie Chomicki and Kelly Miller with a two-RBI single, trimming the Herd's lead to two runs.

From there, Harter settled down, allowing only five base runners in the final three innings to secure the Herd's two-run victory.

Marshall 7, Tulsa 5 (Apr 22, 2006 at Huntington, W.Va.) (Game 1)
Tulsa............... 000 500 0 -  5 12  0      (27-16, 11-5 C-USA)
Marshall............ 250 000 X -  7  7  1      (28-20, 12-7 C-USA)
Pitchers: Tulsa - Genow; Lee(2). Marshall - Abigail Harter.
Win-Abigail Harter(13-9)  Loss-Genow(13-8)  T-1:42  A-437

Game 2 (Marshall 2, Tulsa 0)

Game 2 Box Score

Veronica Ralston (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills) didn't need much run support as the senior struck out seven batters in a 2-0 game two victory over the Golden Hurricane.

For Ralston (13-11), it was her first victory since April 2 at East Carolina. Ralston scattered seven hits in the complete-game victory, while walking four.

Tulsa's Julie Fennell (9-6) endured the loss, surrendering two runs on seven hits in six innings. Fennell struck out four, while walking three more.

Folden went 1-for-1 with an RBI single in the second game. With the RBI single, Folden became the first player in program history to post back-to-back 50-plus RBI seasons.

Both teams registered seven hits with one multi-hit performance each. Osbon and Marshall's Jessica Williams both went 2-for-3.

The Herd pushed across two runs in the second inning, which proved to be enough in the end for Ralston. Rodriguez led off with a single to left-center. Spenia's sacrifice bunt allowed pinch runner Noelle Adams (Wheeling, W.Va./The Linsly School) to advance to second. Bitner then single to left field. Two batters later, Adams scored on a fielding error by Chomicki.

Folden followed with an RBI single to center field, scoring Bitner for the Herd's second and final run of the afternoon.

Marshall 2, Tulsa 0 (Apr 22, 2006 at Huntington, W.Va.) (Game 2)
Tulsa............... 000 000 0 -  0  7  2      (27-17, 11-6 C-USA)
Marshall............ 020 000 X -  2  7  0      (29-20, 13-7 C-USA)
Pitchers: Tulsa - Fennell. Marshall - Veronica Ralston.
Win-Veronica Ralston(13-11)  Loss-Fennell(9-6)  T-2:02  A-315

The Marshall Thundering Herd will conclude its three-game set with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Sunday at 1 p.m. Prior to first pitch, the Herd will honor its seven seniors - Noelle Adams, Courtney Kacenga, Veronica Ralston, Sara Spenia, Amanda Williams, Jessica Williams and Leigh Wintter - during Senior Day ceremonies.