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Herd Tips the Hatters

Senior Bri Anna Hope stole two bases in Wednesday's game.

March 20, 2013

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DeLand, Fla.—The Marshall softball team defeated Stetson at the Patricia Wilson Softball Field Wednesday, March 20. The Hatters (17-10, 0-3 A-Sun) could not retaliate after the Thundering Herd’s (15-12, 3-3 C-USA) explosive four-run, first inning. The Herd evened the series record against Stetson, now 2-2, and has won the first non-tournament game between the two teams.

This was the first time that the Herd registered five hits in the first inning this season. Senior Alysia Hively, Bri Anna Hope and junior Savanah Webster all went 2-for-3 on the day. Hively had three RBIs, a double and a home run.

The Herd fled the gates aggressively in the top of the first inning and took an early 4-0 lead. With one out on the board, senior Ashley Gue (1-for-3) slapped a single to short stop to reach first base. Hope singled through the left side, and a double steal moved Gue and Hope to second and third. Senior Jazmine Valle (1-for4) stepped into the batters’ box and bunted to load the bases for Webster, who allowed Gue to score on an RBI single. A two-out wild pitch moved runners over and allowed Hope to slide safely into home plate. Hively kept the ball rolling with a two-RBI double to center field, but was thrown out trying to advance to third.

A throwing error allowed Hatters’ Brittany Hawn to reach first and take second base to lead off the bottom half of the first. Senior Andi Williamson walked two batters to load the bases, but a fly-out to center field ended the inning with no harm done.

The Hatters sat the Herd down in order, giving themselves another chance at the plate in the second inning. Williamson struck out two of Stetson’s lineup, but the Hatters still managed to load the bases with two hits and a walk. A grounder to short stop sealed the inning shut before the Hatters could score.

Three fly outs ended the top of the third for the Herd and left Hope and Webster stranded on base. Stetson’s Demi Meza hit her sixth homer of the season to notch the first run on the board for the Hatters’ to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Williamson struck out the next two hitters, and a fly out to center field ended the one-run inning, 4-1.

Hively stepped up to the plate to lead off the top of the fourth and smashed her sixth homer of the season out of the park to give Marshall another four-run lead. Sophomore Kristina Braxton stole second after being substituted in as a pinch runner for freshman Raquel Escareno, who took base after being hit by pitch. With one out on the board, Braxton scored off an error by Hatters’ first baseman that allowed freshman Kaeylnn Greene (1-for-4) to reach first. Greene was caught stealing, and a strike out concluded the inning.

Freshman Halie Vance was brought in to relieve Williamson in the bottom half of the fifth. Hatters’ Hawn was walked to begin the top of the fourth. Hawn advanced to third on two ground outs and scored on a wild pitch. Meza hit a two-out home run, her second of the game, to shrink the Marshall lead to 6-3. The final out was rung up on a Vance strike out.

The Herd was unable to score the rest of the game. Through the fifth and sixth inning, the Hatters were scoreless. Despite Meza’s third home run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, Stetson fell short in the Herd’s victorious 6-4 win.

Marshall will resume play Friday, March 22 at 5:30 p.m. ET for a conference match up against UCF. The Herd and Knights will play a doubleheader Saturday, March 23 beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET.