May 10, 2012
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A new C-USA Tournament high of 13 hits by Marshall guided softball to an 8-1 win over East Carolina to advance to the C-USA Championship semifinals.
MU will play UAB Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
The Thundering Herd (35-20) jumped out fast on the Pirates (25-28) with a leadoff home run in the first inning from Alianna Telles for a 1-0 lead.
"I really felt the inning set the tone," said Herd head coach Shonda Stanton. "Jaz made a great defensive player and Ali led off the first with a homer."
Marshall erupted in the third inning to take control of the game. After three straight hits to begin the inning, Jazmine Valle smacked a two run double to left field to build the Herd lead. A RBI single from Bri Anna Hope and a run scoring fielder's choice by Jessica Ferrick built the MU lead to 5-0 after three innings of play.
An Alysia Hively two run double to deep right center in the following inning put MU up 7-0 after four innings.
Andi Williamson's pitching handcuffed the Pirates all day. She would allow just four hits and added five strikeouts. The junior fielder her position extremely well, snagging multiple tough balls while picking up a team high six assists.
"Obviously we are so comfortable with Andi on the mound and the way she fielded her position and the defense around her was solid," said Stanton.
East Carolina was able to score a run in the fifth. Jill Jelnick drove in a game with a fielder's choice to slim the Herd lead to 7-1. It was the first run allowed by MU in nearly 30 innings of play.
After Telles reached base for the fourth time in the game with her third hit, Rebecca Gamby picked up her third hit of the contest with a single in between the ECU pitcher's legs to extend its lead to 8-1 in the sixth inning.
Telles and Gamby both became the first Herd batters to have a three hit performance in a C-USA tournament game.
MU would retire ECU in order in the final two innings to complete the 8-1 win and advance to Friday's semi-final. Williamson picked up the win, her 24th of the season and the most in a single-season for a Marshall pitcher.
"What I am most pleased with about this team is that they wanted the shutout and weren't satisfied with just the win," Stanton said. "They are hungry and want more. It's a mark of a confident team."
Sarah Christian (18-16) suffered the loss for the Pirates. She was chased after allowing five runs in 2.1 innings of work.
Friday's game will once again be available for viewing on the C-USA Digital Network. A separate subscription from Herd All-Access is needed. Live stats from GameTracker and a free in-game chat are both available via HerdZone.com.