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@HerdSB Eliminated in Semi-Final Round

Senior Morgan Zerkle recorded five hits during the tournament.
May 13, 2017
Final Stats
FIU Box Score (PDF)
La Tech Box Score (PDF)
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Marshall softball team was eliminated Friday in the semi-final round at the Conference USA Tournament. The Herd fell to FIU, 4-1, and Louisiana Tech, 4-2. Marshall is 41-10.
Louisiana Tech and FIU will meet Saturday in the Conference Title game at 1 p.m. eastern.
Game One: FIU 4, Marshall 1
Marshall managed just four hits and the two-seed FIU Panthers scored two in the top of the seventh to help put away the Herd.
Senior Jordan Dixon pitched the complete game and allowed eight hits, four runs, walked four and struck out three. It was just her seventh loss of the season.
FIU scored one run in the first. Marshall tied the game in the third when junior Taylor McCord hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored junior Eloise Tribolet from third. The Panthers took the lead in the fifth and then put up two more runs in the seventh.
Senior Morgan Zerkle was 2-for-4 in the ball game while senior Shaelynn Braxton went 1-for-1 with two walks. Sophomore Ali Burdette recorded the fourth hit with a single to center in the sixth.
FIU advanced to the Championship game while Marshall awaited the winner of WKU and Louisiana Tech in the first elimination game of the day.
Game Two: La Tech 4, Marshall 2
Louisiana Tech defeated WKU with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to survive and then scored two runs in the third and two more in the seventh to move past Marshall.
Jordan Dixon pitched her third complete game of the tournament and allowed just six hits, four runs, one earned run, walked two and struck out seven. Dixon took the loss for just the eighth time this season and has a record of 31-8.
After La Tech scored two runs in the top of the third, Marshall responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning. The Herd took advantage of three hits and one Tech error to tie the game. With two outs, Eloise Tribolet dropped down a bunt-single. Morgan Zerkle stepped up next and delivered a single to right field. An error on the throw coming in from right allowed Tribolet to score and Zerkle advanced to third when the throw hit over by a camera stationed by the dugout.
Junior Elicia D’Orazio then ripped a shot up the middle that bounced off pitcher Krystal De La Cruz and Zerkle crossed the plate to tie the game.
Louisiana Tech broke the tie in the top of the seventh with two runs. In the bottom of the seventh, freshman Elizabeth DeShields led off the inning with a single to left. Unfortunately for Marshall, DeShields remained at first as the Herd could not find the timely hit.
Zerkle finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate. D’Orazio recorded one hit, one RBI and her 56th stolen base of the year. Shaelynn Braxton registered her 195th career hit.
Head Coach Shonda Stanton (from game one vs. FIU)
On today’s game:
“Great ball game though six innings. 2-1 ball game, exactly what you want to see. That first inning, I felt that infield single, we take care of that, it changes the complexion of the game. So, for our team it’s all about fast start, play hard and finish strong. We didn’t get a fast start, it felt like we played hard in the middle innings and we didn’t finish strong. It’s a simple game. I think the game plan, where the difference was, FIU was better at taking balls and swinging at strikes. We were the reverse. Sometimes I think you over complicate the game and you’ve got to give FIU credit. They played a great game and we caved too many times.”
On facing Saile:
“She had a great day. The accolades, what she’s received this year, are deserving. But it goes back to swinging at balls and taking strikes. It’s just some very little things that can get a sudden change if you do one thing right. I just felt like we didn’t compete there at the end. I like what our body of work has been all season and now we’ll see what we’re made of, if we’ll be able to come out. The great thing about how this tournament is set up is we’ve taken care of things all year long and we have this opportunity when we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”
On going into the next game:
“I think it’s about ourselves at this point in time and taking care of what we do well. I think the first thing is getting a fast start. This group has been an incredible group to coach and I look forward to being in an opportunity where – hey – we made some mistakes but we’re not out of it. We’ve just got to come out. I want them to be lions tonight and I want them to just pounce and attack and not worry about the result. The story is going to write itself. We just have to control what we can control one pitch at a time, win each pitch, win each half inning and seven innings are going to take care of themselves. “
Marshall will now wait and see about the possibility for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Going into the tournament Marshall was ranked 23rd in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll, 24th in the ESPN/USA Softball poll and 26th in RPI. The NCAA Selection show is scheduled for 10 p.m. eastern on ESPN 2.