Marshall softball finished the season No. 24 in the country in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
June 12, 2017
June 12 USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Marshall softball team ended the 2017 softball season ranked No. 24 in the final USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll.
“I’m thankful for Team 24,” 2017 Conference USA Coach of the Year Shonda Stanton said. “And for them elevating expectations in setting a new standard for Herd softball in terms of competitive excellence. Our staff is proud of what this group accomplished on the field and in the classroom and all the credit goes to the student-athletes wearing the green and white.”
The Thundering Herd turned in possibly its greatest season in program history. In 2017, the Herd won a program-best 42 games, was ranked four times in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and spent most of the year with a top 30 RPI. Marshall set a team record with a 17-game winning streak while going undefeated in the month of March. The Herd went 20-4 in Conference USA winning the regular season championship and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Marshall racked up numerous individual accolades throughout the season as well. Five times players were selected as the Conference USA Player or Pitcher of the Week. Seniors Morgan Zerkle and Jordan Dixon were named C-USA Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while six players garnered all-conference honors. Zerkle and junior Taylor McCord were conference all-academic selection. Junior Elicia D’Orazio along with McCord, Zerkle and Dixon were NFCA Mideast All-Region selections. Zerkle and Dixon received the highest honors being named NFCA All-Americans. It was the first time Marshall softball had multiple athletes named All-Americans in the same season.
Along with so many other awards, Zerkle was a finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, a Senior CLASS Award first team All-American and a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree. The Milton, W.Va., native will be spending the summer playing for the USA National Team and the Scrap Yard Dawgs of the National Pro Fastpitch League.
D’Orazio finished the season as the NCAA’s stolen base leader and the winner of the Golden Shoe Award. D’Orazio broke the Marshall and Conference USA record with 59 steals and recorded 1.09 thefts per game. The junior’s final steal of the year came in the sixth inning against DePaul in the NCAA Regional Tournament. D’Orazio stole home to tie the game at 1-1. Marshall went on to win 2-1 in the eighth inning.