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Softball Swings into 2014 Action in Tiger Invitational

Coach Stanton is opening her 2014 season with 12 returnees, eight newcomers and two new coaches.

Feb. 13, 2014

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GAME 2: MARSHALL (0-0) AT AUBURN (4-1-1)
Friday, Feb. 14 | 11 a.m. ET | 4 p.m. ET
Auburn, Ala. | Jane B. Moore Field
Twitter | Live Stats

Saturday, Feb. 15 | 10 a.m. ET | 2 p.m. CT
Auburn, Ala. | Jane B. Moore Field
Twitter | Live Stats

Sunday, Feb. 16 | 2 p.m. CT
Auburn, Ala. | Jane B. Moore Field
Twitter | Live Stats

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall softball is traveling to Auburn, Ala., to open its season in Auburn's Tiger Invitational. Due to weather conditions, the schedule of games has been altered to accommodate teams as they arrive.

The Herd is one of six teams competing in the Tiger Invitational and the only team in the field that didn't open the season last weekend. Western Illinois (4-0), Auburn (4-1-1), Winthrop (2-3), Nebraska-Omaha and Loyola Chicago (1-3) all began their respective seasons Feb. 6-9.

Live stats will be available for each game, as well as a webcast for the contest against host Auburn. Results can be found on at the completion of each day. Follow @HerdSB on Twitter for updates.

Marshall graduated six seniors after a successful 36-22 season, in which the Herd won the 2013 Conference USA Tournament title and made an NCAA Regional appearance in Lexington, Ky. - defeating Notre Dame for MU's first NCAA win.

Since then, the Herd has added eight freshmen to its roster. These additions include four West Virginians - Jennifer Brumfield (Ona), Morgan Kelley (Milton), Jessica Watts (Wayne) and Morgan Zerkle (Milton).

Brumfield, Kelly and Zerkle all hail from Cabell Midland High School.

Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.), Taylor Estes (Danville, Ky.), Rebacca Myslenski (Seabrook, Texas) and Courtney Ross (Lawrenceville, Ga.) fill the rest of the freshmen roster.

Lyndsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.) is coming off of a 2013 medical redshirt to make her official debut this weekend for the Herd, alongside 11 returnees.

Besides the eight newcomers on the Marshall roster, the Herd has made changes to its coaching staff. New assistant coach Kendall Fearn and pitching coach Chanda Bell will be making their debuts in kelly green on Friday.

Fearn comes to Marshall with three years of coaching experience, all of which came at the Division I level. She served as a volunteer assistant coach at UNLV, her alma mater, while working to earn a master's degree in athletic administration from 2010-11. Fearn accepted the position on the UNLV coaching staff in 2011 and spent an additional year with the Runnin' Rebels before heading east in 2012. Fearn spent the 2013 season as an assistant at Georgia Southern , where she helped guide the Eagles to an NCAA Gainesville (Fla.) Regional appearance after capturing the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament title.

Bell enters her first season as Marshall's pitching coach, joining the Thundering Herd staff after a decorated playing career at Kentucky. Bell has one year of coaching experience after serving as a student assistant coach with the Wildcats last season.

Western Illinois is the first team Marshall will face and the only team with an undefeated record in the Tiger Invitational. With its domination in the Rosemont Rumble, the Leathernecks took down Loyola-Chicago (7-1), Drake (10-4), Eastern Illinois (9-3) and Illinois-Chicago (3-1).

Western Illinois sophomore hurler Kaycee Hart has a 2-0 record with a 0.58 era and six strikeouts in 12.0 innings.  At the helm of the team are junior Teagan Walsh and senior Megg Kelly who have both started in all four of the Leathernecks' games. Walsh has posted a .563 average behind four doubles, while Kelly sits at a .538 average with two doubles and a homerun.

Auburn started its season with a tie on Feb. 6 at Troy (5-5). The Tigers went on to play in the Plainsman Invite Feb. 7-9, where they went 4-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Notre Dame in eight innings of action (3-2).

As of now, Auburn is led by freshman Kasey Cooper, who started in all of the Tigers' six games and posted a .474 average with a double and a homerun. Not too far behind is sophomore Emily Carosone, who has also started in six games and established a .412 average behind a double and a homerun. In the circle, Auburn's sophomore Lexi Davis holds a 2-1 record and a 1.18 era with 18 strikeouts thus far this season.

Loyola Chicago enters the Tiger Invitational after competing in the Total Control Sports Invitational in Rosemont, Ill. After suffering two losses to start the season to Illinois (11-1 (6)) and Western Illinois (7-1), the Ramblers were able to take down UIC in an 8-2 victory. Loyola Chicago's final loss came at the hands of IUPUI (5-2).

Seniors Olivia Bell and Lauren Moore have both contributed four hits in four games. Bell is at the helm of the team with a .400 average, three RBI and two runs. Moore sits at a .308 with two doubles and six total bases. Sophomore Ashley Rogers is holds the Maverick's sole victory, 1-0.

Nebraska-Omaha started its season in the Red Desert Classic last weekend. The Mavericks started the tournament with two shutouts over Weber State (7-0) and Utah Valley (4-0), but fell to Southern Utah (5-1) the next day. Nebraska-Omaha claimed one more victory over Idaho State (6-3) before dropping to Utah State (6-0).

Senior Dana Elsasser boasts a 3-0 record, claiming the two shutout victories behind 21 strikeouts in 21 innings. Leading the pack is junior Allie Mathewson with a .429 average. Her six hits allowed her to reach six total bases in her five games of action. Rookie Lia Mancuso shares the spotlight with a .417 average connecting for five hits and a double.

Winthrop last competed in the Georgia Tournament in Athens, Ga. Feb. 7-9. After topping out over James Madison (11-4), the Eagles fell to host school No. 17 Georgia (1-0). After splitting Day 2 of the tournament with a loss to James Madison (1-0) and a victory over North Texas (5-2), the Eagles lost to the Mean Green in the final day of action (1-4).

Senior McKenzi Corn leads the team, posting a .333 average with five hits in five games. Not far behind is senior Mel Andrea with a .313 behind five hits and a home run. Junior hurler Sutton Watson remains undefeated in the circle with a 2-0 record and a 1.93 era in 14 innings.

The Herd will travel to Orlando, Fla., for the Citrus Classic, which will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Marshall will face five teams in three days of action.