Herd Softball Ready for Home Opener with Kent State
First pitch with the former Mid-American Conference foe set for 3 p.m. from Dot Hicks Field
Marshall Radio Broadcast
Live Stream: Herd Vision
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – After three-straight weeks on the road, the Marshall softball team is ready for the 2018 home opener against the Kent State Golden Flashes. First pitch against the old Mid-American Conference foe is set for Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m., from Dot Hicks Field.
The Thundering Herd is 6-8 overall and Kent State is 7-3.
Admission to the game is free. There will be a post-game, poster autograph session with the team depending on the weather.
Last Time Out: Spartan/Paladin Invitational
Marshall completed the weekend 2-3 with wins over Presbyterian and Winthrop. Junior pitcher Abigail Tolbert went 2-1 with a 0.79 ERA over 17.2 innings pitched. The Barboursville, W.Va., native struck out a career-high seven in the win over Presbyterian and struck out 16 total for the tournament. Senior Taylor McCord belted two home runs and freshman Grayson Radcliffe hit her first career home run in the 8-0 win against Presbyterian. With her first homer of the game McCord became the 10th member of the 100 RBI club in the history of the program. Senior Eloise Tribolet is on a five-game hitting streak and reached base 10 times through the five games. Senior Elicia D’Orazio moved into ninth place all-time with 206 career hits and third all-time with 135 stolen bases.
Scouting the Opponent: Kent State, 33 meetings – Marshall leads 20-13
The Golden Flashes won the 2017 Mid-American Conference Championship and went on the NCAA Regional Tournament in Waco, Texas. Kent State lost the first game to No. 15 Baylor, 1-0, and then defeated Oregon State 2-1 before being eliminated by James Madison 4-0. This season, Kent State is off to a hot start as the team is hitting .315 and has outscored its competition 61-32. Senior Holly Spears is hitting .630 (17-of-27), scored 12 runs, three doubles, three home runs and 15 RBI. As a group, the offense has hit 15 doubles and eight home runs. In the circle, sophomore Madi Huck leads with a 5-0 record and a meager 0.21 ERA over 32.2 innings. Huck has pitched three shutouts.
Marshall and Kent State first met on April 10, 1998 for a doubleheader in Kent, Ohio. The Herd won the first two matchups. During the series, Marshall’s longest winning streak was five games in 2002 to 2003. The longest win streak for the Golden Flashes was in 1998 and 1999 with three. The final time that the two schools met as conference opponents was May 11, 2005 in the Mid-American Conference tournament. Marshall won 3-2 as senior pitcher Randi Nielson won her 20th game of the season. The schools did not meet again until March 5, 2010. In 2011, the teams met in what became two epic contests. First, (March 4) the Herd won 4-3 with a walk-off bunt in the bottom of the ninth from Alysia Hively as Rebecca Gamby scored.
The final game (March 6) turned into one for the ages. It was another nine inning game that Marshall came back from trailing 3-0, 8-3, 10-8 and 16-10. The Herd tied the game in the bottom of the seventh at 10-10 with two runs. With temperatures near freezing the contest moved through the eighth without any runs scored and then Kent State scored six in the top of the ninth. Marshall found some more magic in the bottom of the ninth, scoring seven runs off six hits and one Kent State error. Jazmine Valle drove in the final runs with two outs as Taylor Thompson and then Bri Anna Hope beat the throw home. The final score was 17-16, had 31 combined hits and lasted four hours and 26 minutes. It is the longest game in Herd history in terms of game time. The teams last met in Huntington in March of 2012 as the teams split two games.
Following the single game match with the Golden Flashes, Marshall hits the road again down to Columbia, S.C., for the Carolina Classic March 2-4. The tournament is hosted by No. 20 South Carolina. Marshall will play once against George Washington, two games against Liberty and two with the 20th ranked Gamecocks. The first game of the three-day event is scheduled for Friday, March 2 at 12 p.m., against George Washington.