Herd Softball Heads to Clearwater for the Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Invite
Herd to play Oakland, USF, Missouri, UMass-Lowell and No. 10 Tennessee
Marshall Game Notes
Marshall Radio Broadcast
Clearwater, Fla. – The Marshall softball team hits the road for the second of four early season tournaments. The Thundering Herd will play five games at the Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Invite hosted at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
The tournament takes place from Feb. 16-18. Marshall will play against Oakland (Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m.), USF (Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.), Missouri (Feb. 17 at 12:30 p.m.), UMass-Lowell (Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m.) and No. 10 Tennessee (Feb. 18 at 9:00 a.m.).
All of the Herd’s games will be broadcast on 88.1 WMUL-FM and online at www.marshall.edu/wmul on one of the Listen Live Streams. Select games will also be simulcast on Facebook Live through the Marshall University Softball page.
Last Time Out: Plainsman Invitational Hosted by No. 13 Auburn
Marshall began the season with a tough contest against the 13th ranked Auburn Tigers. The Herd battled and had a close loss of 4-0. Junior pitcher Abigail Tolbert earned her first career start and kept the hard-hitting Tigers off balance. Tolbert allowed just six hits and four runs across five-plus innings. A few defensive miscues and not finding the timely hit, hurt Marshall in the loss to Auburn. The Herd continued to struggle to find its rhythm in losses to Furman (3-1) and Wichita State (5-2). In Marshall’s final contest of the weekend against Tennessee Tech, the Herd allowed three early solo home runs to trail 3-0 through three innings. The offense then began to come alive with two runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to take the lead. Senior Madi Marshall sparked the bats in the fourth with a two RBI single to get the Herd on the scoreboard. Junior pitcher Ali Burdette came on in relief and held down the Golden Eagles with just four hits and one run in four innings of work to earn the win. Meanwhile, the offense kept on clicking with two more runs in the sixth and four in the seventh. Sophomore pitcher Kailee Williamson entered the circle to finish off the game and struck out three-of-four batters faced. Senior Elicia D’Orazio recorded two hits, stole three bases, scored three times and reached base 4-of-5 plate appearances. Senior Jordan Colliflower recorded two hits. Freshmen Samantha Koehn, Armani Brown, Grayson Radcliffe, Katie Adams and Aly Harrell all made great contributions to the Herd’s win and the first Marshall win for head coach Jen Steele.
Scouting the Opponents
Oakland: MU leads 5-0, last game - 3/18/05 (13-5 MU win)
The Golden Grizzlies will begin the 2018 season in Clearwater. Oakland was selected to finish fifth in the Horizon League Preseason polls. Head Coach Lauren Cognigni is in her first season leading the program and returns four of the top five hitters from 2017. Sophomore Jamie Squires led Oakland hitting .344, 43 hits, nine doubles, three triples and six homers. She tied for the lead in RBI (27) with junior Mikayela Marciniak. Senior pitcher Haley Zemmer is the only returning pitcher out of the main three from 2017. Zemmer pitched 100.2 innings (second most) with 70 strikeouts, a 3.62 ERA and a 5-12 record. Oakland has 10 newcomers. Marshall last played Oakland in 2005 in Columbus and put up season-highs of 13 runs and 15 hits. Rachel Folden and Dee Tourville combined for seven RBI and Randi Nielson got the win.
USF: Bulls lead 9-1, last game - 2/21/15 (18-5 USF win)
The Bulls opened the season with a 4-1 record with the lone loss coming against No. 2 Florida (14-3). Wins came over Illinois State (3-0), Georgia State (5-4), Michigan (3-2) and UAB (6-3). USF returns an experienced squad that won 32 games in 2017. Seven of the main nine offensive starters are back as well as a healthy Mia Fung who missed most of last season. The top three pitchers return for Ken Eriksen’s squad with a combined 319 innings pitched, an ERA under 3.00 and 30 victories. Junior Samantha Worrell hit .417 to open the year and the Bulls hit .328 through the five games. Freshman pitcher Georgina Corrick picked up her first career win against Michigan. Marshall last played USF twice in 2015 and won the first game 6-4, Emiliegh Cooper went 4-for-4 in the win. The Herd lost the last matchup with the Bulls.
Missouri: First ever meeting
The Tigers started the year 2-3 with wins over UTEP (3-0) and Cal State Northridge (19-10). Missouri fell to No. 3 Oregon (14-2), No. 21 Oklahoma State (6-3) and Oregon State (3-1). The Tigers are going through some changes as Gina Fogue takes over as the interim head coach, and the team features a young squad with no seniors and 11 freshmen. Six of the top seven batters return from 2017. Redshirt junior Amanda Sanchez and junior Kolby Romaine lead the team with seven hits each and a .438 average. Freshman Trenity Edwards cranked two home runs opening weekend. Freshman pitcher Lauren Rice pitched 11 innings and picked up a win. The team ERA is currently 4.81.
UMass-Lowell: MU leads 1-0, last game - 2/7/15 (3-0 MU win)
The River Hawks begin the 2018 season at the Pediatric Cancer Invite and the team was picked to finish second in the America East Conference. Six of eight of the top starters return in 2018, led by sophomore Courtney Cashman who hit .430, 58 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 35 RBI in 2017. Kaysee Talcik is the only returning experienced pitcher from a year ago. Talcik tossed the most innings in 2017 with 124.2 and 85 strikeouts. She finished with a 3.59 ERA and an 8-10 record. Marshall last played UMass-Lowell opening weekend in 2015. Shaeylnn Braxton and Emileigh Cooper collected two hits each and Taylor McCord recorded her first career RBI.
No. 10 Tennessee: Vols lead 6-1, last game - 2/27/16 (18-0 UT win)
The tenth ranked Lady Vols led off the season with a 6-0 record including two wins over ranked opponents. Tennessee returns many players from the squad that made it to Supers in 2017. Eight of the top 10 starters from a year ago are back including Meghan Gregg who hit .437 last season and is already hitting .471 in 2018 with two doubles and two home runs. Both of Tennessee’s 20-game winners in junior Matty Moss and sophomore Caylan Arnold are back as well. Moss earned three wins opening weekend with a 0.70 ERA. Marshall last played the Lady Vols at the BAMA Bash in 2016. The Herd fell in both contests to the then 15th ranked Tennessee squad.