Behind Williamson, Herd Shuts Down UCF Twice|
May 5, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Andi Williamson allowed just three hits in each game and struck out 13 total as she and Marshall softball defeated UCF twice on Saturday at Dot Hicks Field.
The Thundering Herd (33-20, 14-9 C-USA) used a first inning home run and a big fifth inning to defeat the Knights (39-15, 15-8 C-USA) in game one, 5-0. Williamson continued her dominance in the second game, shutting down UCF as MU picked up a 4-0 victory.
"I'm really proud and pleased of our performance today," head coach Shonda Stanton said. "I really feel this was our best day of ball."
Marshall started the first match-up of the day with a boom that literally brought down the rains as Alianna Telles smacked a first pitch home run to begin the Herd's first for a 1-0 lead. Two separate rain delays totaling 55 minutes would follow before play would resume.
Williamson was magnificent in the circle for her squad. She would allowed just three UCF hits during the game. The junior managed to never allow more than one runner to reach throughout the game expect for the fourth inning.
The Herd's lead grew in the fifth with a four run inning that began with senior Jessica Hughes reaching on a bunt single. Hughes scored when a throw sailed into the outfield on the Herd's next at-bat. Singles by Rebecca Gamby and Jazmine Valle scored one and two runs respectively and built the MU lead to 5-0.
Williamson finished out the game with help from her defense, which didn't commit and error, to earn the victory.
Marshall had six hits from six different players and only struck out three times against the league's top strikeout pitcher, Mackenzie Audas (21-8), who suffered the loss.
A scoreless tussle was finally broken apart in the third inning when senior Samantha Spurlock picked up one of her two hits in the game and Taylor Thompson followed suit to give the Herd a scoring chance. Marshall would take advantage when Spurlock scored on an error and Alianna Telles collected a two run single to right center to put MU up 3-0.
Williamson continued to dazzle in the circle. She stopped two UCF threats when they stranded two runners in each of the first and third innings to keep them off the scoreboard. She allowed three hits, struck out five and walkied one batter.
Williamson (22-12) retired the next six batters and she would pick up her 22nd win of the season, tying for the second most wins in a season for a Marshall pitcher. The defense behind her was superb in game two as well by not committing an error.
"When you look at the day, we made great defensive plays and that's what makes Andi so great," said Stanton. "She gave us a pitcher of the year type performance and our defense really picked her up."
Ali Schmidt took the loss for the Knights, falling to 13-4 on the season.
Marshall, like game one, collected six hits, this time from five different batters. Including Spurlock's two hits in the second game, the Herd seniors accounted for eight of the team's 12 hits on Saturday.
"I'm happy to see Sam step up and have a big day," said Stanton. "She and the seniors are finishing strong."
The two teams have set-up a showdown on Sunday. Winner of the game will earn a three seed in next week's Conference USA tournament. Action begins at noon from Dot Hicks Field. The seven seniors from this year's team will be honored in a ceremony before the game.
"Tomorrow is what it's all about. It's championship Sunday with the winner taking the three seed."