Dixon No-Hits WKU as @HerdSB Advances
Third career no-hitter for Dixon
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Senior pitcher Jordan Dixon tossed her third career no-hitter, and just the second no-hitter in Conference USA Tournament history, as top-seeded Marshall downs the WKU Hilltoppers 2-0 Thursday. The Thundering Herd ties the program single-season record with its 41st win of the year.
The Herd advances to the winner's bracket in the semi-finals, Friday at 1 p.m., eastern. Marshall awaits the winner of FIU (two seed) and Louisiana Tech (three seed). The Hilltoppers are still alive, as they will take on the loser of FIU and La Tech, Friday at 3:30 p.m., eastern in an elimination game.
The Conference USA Pitcher and Player of the Year were two of the stars for the Herd. Dixon allowed just two runners on base with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, while striking out eight. Senior Morgan Zerkle blasted her ninth home run of the season in the third with a solo shot to center and then scored the second run in the fifth.
Junior Elicia D'Orazio ripped off two more stolen bases and has 55 this season. D'Orazio is just two steals away from tying the Conference USA single-season record of 57 set by Chrystal Stevens of Southern Miss in 2000.
Zerkle led off the third inning with the solo home run to finally crack the scoreboard. Marshall had put one runner on in the first and two in the second but could not find the timely hit. The Herd hit three doubles in the game by sophomores Abigail Estrada and Ali Burdette along with freshman Elizabeth DeShields.
The Hilltoppers got a runner on base by a walk in the second but then did not get another runner on until the leadoff in the sixth. After the hit batter in the sixth inning, Dixon retired the next three batters including her seventh strikeout.
In the top of the seventh, Dixon sat down the first WKU batter with her eighth strikeout of the afternoon. After a long battle with Jordan Mauch at the plate, the Marshall defense got the second out from a great diving catch at the right field line by junior Jordan Colliflower to preserve the no-hitter. Then, for the final out, Dixon bobbled and then held on to a liner right back to her in the circle to end the game.
Jordan Dixon was named the Dot Hicks Significant Sticker Award winner after pitching the no-hitter. Dixon was on top of her game with eight strikeouts and inducing seven pop outs.
Head Coach Shonda Stanton
On today's game:
"We reached a little bit more and that's what we needed from this team. How about Colliflower's catch in right field? That's what happens when you have a team behind a pitcher of the year. And then you have the player of the year, Morgan Zerkle, she goes yard. That sets the tone and lets you breathe a little bit more. Then they gave us one. Offensively we weren't at our strength, that's our base running, and we made a few mistakes there. For me it's about sitting on that bucket over there, staying out of their way and letting them do it."
On having a bye:
"You want to get out and play. We left at 3:45 on Tuesday morning and you're sitting around waiting and watching. Everyone wants to get out and play. We got that first one out of the way. We weren't as sharp offensively, as far as quality at-bats, but's that okay. Great teams find ways to win. That's what this ball club did. I want us to have a faster start tomorrow though."
On WKU's tenacity:
"I have a lot of respect for Amy. She's a competitor. That's a great indication of the team taking on her personality. They played outstanding yesterday and that's a dangerous team. You've got somebody who's a low seed that knocked off two higher seeds playing free and having fun. They've done a quality job."
Marshall awaits the winner of FIU and Louisiana Tech to play in the first game of the semi-final round, Friday at 1 p.m., eastern. Fans can tune into the game through beIN on youtube as well as 88.1 WMUL-FM and online at www.marshall.edu/wmul.