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@HerdSB Heads to Virginia Tech for Three-Game Series

Junior Elicia D'Orazio is third in the country with 1.07 steals per game, 44 total.
April 20, 2017

Game Notes
Live Stats
Marshall Radio Broadcast
 

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Marshall softball team travels south to Blacksburg, Va., for a three-game set with the Virginia Tech Hokies. The teams play one game Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m., and then finish with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 22, beginning at 12 p.m. The Thundering Herd is 34-7 and the Hokies are 17-29.
 
Fans can tune into the game on 88.1 WMUL-FM and online at www.marshall.edu/wmul through one of the Listen Live links on the right-hand side of the page. Scott Hall will have the call.
 
Marshall is coming off a 3-2 win over the Ohio Bobcats this past Tuesday, after suffering its first back-to-back defeats of the season at FIU. The Herd had a single-game at Morehead State scheduled for Wednesday, April 19, that was canceled due to inclement weather. Marshall has nine games remaining in the 2017 regular season. Six of the nine are Conference USA matchups at Middle Tennessee State (April 29-30) and senior weekend against UAB at Dot Hicks Field (May 5-6).
 
The Herd is just seven wins shy of tying the program record of 41 wins set back in 2003. Its 15 conference wins ties a program-record for the most while in Conference USA. Marshall finished with 20 wins in 2003 and 2005 while in the Mid-American Conference.
 
Morgan Zerkle Finalist for Two Major Awards
Senior Morgan Zerkle was announced as one of 34 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, and one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. Zerkle is Marshall’s first Senior CLASS Award finalist since Rachel Folden in 2008. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. Student-athletes must excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Fans can vote through May 9th by going to www.seniorclassaward.com. The open ballots can be found on the right-hand side of the home page.
 
Herd in the Rankings
Marshall has been making program history this season with wins, win streaks and statistical records. However, Marshall has been getting recognition in the national rankings as well. Below are the Herd’s spots in the Top 25 poll and RPI this season:
March 21: Received 5 votes - 34th overall - RPI 36th
March 28: Received 13 votes - 30th overall - RPI 29th
April 4: Received 11 votes - 30th overall - RPI 28th
April 11: Received 32 votes - 26th overall (highest in program history) - RPI 24th
April 18: Received 7 votes - 33rd overall - RPI 27th
 
Dixon Just Keeps on Winning...and winning and winning
Senior pitcher Jordan Dixon racked up her second straight Conference USA Pitcher of the Week award on April 10, after earning three more wins and a save as the Herd had won six games in a row and 23 of its previous 24. Dixon’s win streak came to an end after winning 17-straight starts and reaching her 100th career win on April 14 at FIU. She lost her next start at FIU on April 15, Dixon’s first loss since Feb. 26. Dixon is the first pitcher in herd history with 100 wins as well as 1,000 strikeouts. She is the second pitcher in Conference USA history to achieve both milestones as Toni Paisley of ECU was the first. The next major milestone is 1,000 innings pitched, she needs just 8.2 more.
 
Grand Larceny on the Bases
Marshall softball has continued its dominance in base running going for the next 60 feet. The Herd has 131 steals in 41 games and is currently leading the country with 3.20 per game. Marshall has ripped off at least one base in every game but five this season. At the Eagle Classic (March 3-5), Marshall stole 34 bases in five games, including the team and Conference USA record 16 versus Delaware State. Elicia D’Orazio and Morgan Zerkle are in a little battle at the top for the Herd. D’Orazio has 44 and Zerkle is just 11 behind with 33. Both players are ranked in the top ten in the nation. D’Orazio is third with 1.07 per game and Zerkle ranks eighth with .87 per contest. Against Wright State, D’Orazio became the sixth player in Herd history with 100 or more career stolen bases. She is now fifth with 107. Marshall reached 100 steals in the fewest games in program history in just 27. The old record of 30 was set this past season in 2016.
 
The Opponent: Virginia Tech
The Series: 12 meetings, Virginia Tech leads 8-4
Marshall and Virginia Tech have met 12 times coming into this three-game series. The first ever meeting was a doubleheader in Huntington on April 9, 1996, Hokies head coach Scot Thomas’ first season. Marshall took both games 3-2 and 3-0. Virginia Tech won the next three matchups until the Herd captured game two of another home doubleheader on March 29, 2000, Herd head coach Shonda Stanton’s first season. The two teams split at a neutral site, the Sonic Challenge in Chattanooga, in Feb., 2001. Marshall won the second meeting in the eighth inning. With the International Tiebreaker Rule in effect, junior Nichole Corrigan was placed at second. Freshman Sierra Davenport dropped down a sacrifice bunt that moved Corrigan to third. Freshman Allison Webb then ripped a single to center that scored Corrigan for the go-ahead run. Senior pitcher Sara Gulla finished off the Hokies in the bottom of the eighth, pitched all eight innings and struck out seven for the win. Virginia Tech has won the last four meetings with one in 2004, a doubleheader in 2006 and an epic 13-inning battle in the 2013 NCAA Regional Tournament in Lexington, Ky. Both teams entered the nightcap on Saturday May 18, needing to win to stay alive. The day before, the Hokies defeated Notre Dame 4-3 and then lost to Kentucky 6-2 on Saturday. Marshall fell to Kentucky 2-1 in eight innings on Friday, but then beat Notre Dame 3-1 Saturday. The Herd and Hokies took the field at 6:14 p.m. The two squads fought and battled for three hours and 47 minutes, until just after 10 p.m., as Virginia Tech finally won 3-2 in the bottom of the 13th inning. Senior Ashley Gue and freshman Kaelynn Greene combined for six hits. Greene and fellow freshman Shaelynn Braxton had a team-record seven at-bats each. Senior pitcher Andi Williamson went the distance with a team record 12.2 innings pitched and struck out nine. In the bottom of the 10th, Williamson struck out Kylie McGoldrick for Williamson’s 728th career strikeout. Breaking the 12-year old record held by Marshall Athletics Hall of Famer Sara Gulla.
 
SCOUTING THE HOKIES
Virginia Tech enters the series 17-29 after dropping two-of-three non-conference midweek games. The Hokies split with Liberty, lost to Radford, and has lost 11 of its last 13 games. Virginia Tech is 5-16 in the ACC with series wins over Virginia and Georgia Tech. Saturday will be senior day with two seniors being recognized; Vanessa Gonzalez and Elizabeth Birle.  Gonzalez is batting .307 this season and has appeared in 200 games with 198 starts. In her career, Gonzalez has 156 hits, 29 doubles, 26 home runs (fifth all-time) and 88 RBIs. Elizabeth Birle has spent time as a first baseman and a pitcher for the Hokies. Birle has pitched 15.2 innings in her career and has 27 career hits, three doubles and four home runs. Offensively, Virginia Tech is batting .289 with six batters all over .300: Aysha Richardson (.373), Breanna Davenport (.345). Emma Strouth (.333), Olivia Lattin (.326), Gonzalez (.307) and Lauren Duff (.306). Gonzalez leads the team with 18 extra base hits (10 home runs and eight doubles).  Richardson leads with 12 stolen bases. The Hokies can hit the ball hard with 67 doubles, 46 home runs and eight triples this season. However, the pitching staff sports a team ERA of 4.69. Freshman Carrie Eberle leads with 126.2 innings pitched, an ERA of 3.70 and a 7-8 record. Duff has been the mainstay behind the plate and has tossed out 13 base stealers as teams are 23-of-36 against the Hokies in stealing.
 

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