@HerdSB at UNC Greensboro for Midweek Single Game
Marshall softball 36th in first RPI rankings
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Marshall softball team is at UNC Greensboro for a single game against the Spartans on Tuesday, March 21. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. The Thundering Herd (20-4, 6-0 C-USA) is on an 11-game winning streak after completing the series sweep over Conference USA opponent Charlotte, March 18-19.
The first RPI rankings of the 2017 season were released Monday, and Marshall ranked 36th overall out of 295 Division I teams and is the highest ranked team in Conference USA. It is the Herd’s highest ranking passing the previous mark of 51st in 2015. Top 25 rankings come out Tuesday of each week.
After this past weekend, Marshall is still ranked number one in the country in stolen bases per game at 3.92. Junior Elicia D’Orazio leads the nation individually in steals per game with 1.29 and senior Morgan Zerkle is ranked fifth at 1.08 per game.
Leading into Tuesday’s contest with UNC Greensboro, Marshall swept Charlotte to begin C-USA play at 6-0. The Herd’s 11-game winning streak is the second longest in program history, trailing a 14-game winning streak from 2013 in which Marshall swept three Conference USA series.
THE SERIES: UNC Greensboro, 16 meetings, series tied 8-8
Marshall first played the Spartans four times during the Herd’s first season in 1994 as members of the Southern Conference. The four games were split. UNCG took the first two on March 30 at Greensboro and then the Herd won the next two on April 1 & 2. The Herd lost the next two in 1995. During those first two seasons, current Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton was a member of the Spartans. The two teams played one last game in 1996, that Marshall won 6-3, before the Herd left the SoCon for the MAC. Seven years later, the teams split a doubleheader in Greensboro. Marshall won the next two games in 2007 (13-5) and 2009 (4-3). In the 2007 contest, the Herd collected 16 hits. Junior Samantha Rodriguez led with three hits and her second home run of the year. It was the first time that Marshall’s all-time leader in hit-by-pitches, Marcena Bertoldo who finished with 53, was plunked. The Herd dropped a doubleheader in Greensboro March 24, 2010. Three years later, the two squads split two games as the Herd was in Greensboro for the Spartan Classic. Marshall secured the win in game two with a diving catch at second by senior Bri Anna Hope. The last time they met on the field was Feb. 8, 2015. Marshall won 8-0 to improve to 5-0. Junior Kaelynn Greene and sophomore Morgan Zerkle were both 3-for-3.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
UNCG is 16-11 and had won eight of its last 10, before dropping two if three against Elon March 17-19. The Spartans went 4-0 at the Bailey Memorial Tournament in Kennesaw, Ga., including two wins over UAB and one over Akron. UNCG belted three home runs in its most recent win, 10-3 over North Carolina A&T Thursday night. As a team, the Spartans are hitting .241 but have hit 33 home runs. Eight players have hit more than one homer this season. The team ERA is 4.51 and UNCG is led by Alicia Bazonski with a 3.73 ERA and an 11-6 record. The junior has 64 strikeouts in 105 innings.
The game will be broadcast on 88.1 WMUL-FM and at www.marshall.edu/wmul by clicking on Stream 1, and a live video stream on youtube.