Herd and Pirates to Meet in First Round of C-USA Championship|
May 9, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Marshall softball will begin its pursuit of its first Conference USA Tournament Championship when it takes on East Carolina in the first round on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
All games of the championship will be played in Birmingham, Ala. at UAB Softball Field. ECU (25-27, 11-12 C-USA) are the two-time defending champions.
The Thundering Herd (34-20, 15-9 C-USA) secured the three seed after a three game sweep of UCF last weekend in the regular season finale at home. MU completely controlled the Knights by holding them off the scoreboard in all three contests.
Andi Williamson spearheaded the sweep by starting all three games and throwing 24 scoreless innings to pick up three wins. The junior had 19 strikeouts and allowed just nine hits against the Knights. Williamson now has 23 wins, tying her for the most single-season victories by a Herd pitcher. She is also the league-leader in wins this season.
The defense for Marshall was also outstanding. In all three game of action versus the Knights, the Herd did not commit an error.
After wins on Saturday of 5-0 and 4-0, Sunday's game went scoreless until the bottom of the tenth inning. A leadoff home run from Alysia Hively ended the game and sent the Herd bench into a frenzy.
At the plate, Taylor Thompson used three hits on the weekend to raise her batting average to .342, which is tied for the team lead with Rebecca Gamby. Alianna Telles also had a hit in each game, including a home run on the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the first inning in the series opener. The senior has now reached base in 13 straight games.
ECU and Marshall are facing for the fourth time in less than two weeks. The two squads meet up in Greenville, N.C. on April 28 and 29 in Greenville, N.C. After taking the first game, 8-0 in six innings, the Herd fell in games two and three of the series, 3-2 and 3-0. ECU pitcher Sarah Christian picked up both wins by holding MU scoreless for 13 of the 14 innings she pitched. Jill Jelnick had five hits over the weekend to lead the Pirates.
For the Herd, Williamson picked up her 20th win of the season in game one. She took a no-hitter into the final inning before Jelnick reached on an infield single. Gamby had three hits and two RBI in the contest. Jazmine Valle and Ashley Gue added two RBI to help MU win 8-0. Over the three game series, Telles picked up six hits, two in each game to lead the Herd offense.
All games of the tournament featuring Marshall can be heard on WMUL 88.1 FM and at www.marshall.edu/wmul. Video for the each is also available through the C-USA Digital Network. The view the video, a paid subscription is required.
Fans can also follow the game through GameTracker, HerdZone Live In-Game chats, and the @MUHerd_Softball twitter account.