Marshall Top Moments of 2011-12: #5
Softball, led by pitcher Andi Williamson closes out the season with a strong run
June 22, 2012
As the 2011-2012 Marshall athletics season comes to a close, HerdZone.com is taking a look back at some of the top moments of the past year. Several exciting moments took place for Marshall during the most recent season, and we did our best to select the top 10 noteworthy moments.
Here is an overview of the No. 5 moment of 2011-12 for Marshall Athletics:
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall softball ‘s late season run starting from its series versus UCF and through the Conference USA Championship comes in at number five. The Thundering Herd used a five game winning streak to propel itself into the C-USA title game.
The Herd’s run began during the final regular season weekend. MU played host to UCF and had to win all three games against the Knights to secure a top three finish in the Conference USA standings.
The series against the Knights will easily go down as an epic moment in Marshall softball history. Not only did the Herd complete the three game sweep of the Knights, it did it in spectacular fashion. In all three games and 24 innings total, UCF was held scoreless. Marshall would win each game by scores of 5-0, 4-0, and 1-0. The final game of the series is one of the most memorable games played at Dot Hicks Field. With emotions high due to senior day activities, the game went scoreless until the bottom of the tenth when Alysia Hively brought the game to a thunderous ending with her leadoff walk-off home run to complete the sweep.
Andi Williamson engineered the sweep as she pitched all 24 innings of the weekend, picking up three wins while striking out 19 and allowing just six hits each day (three in each game Saturday and six on Sunday).
Momentum was in the Herd’s favor as it rolled into Birmingham, Ala. for the C-USA tournament. Marshall began its pursuit of the title with an 8-1 over East Carolina. Williamson would pick up her 24th victory of the season to set a new single-season win mark for Marshall softball.
The Herd’s next test would be against the tournament host UAB Blazers. In its second 10 inning game in less than a week, MU and UAB played a nail-biting game. Twice UAB would take a one run lead and twice the Herd would answer, scoring on two suicide squeeze bunts to knot the game each time. The extra innings had plenty of tense moments with UAB stranding seven runners on base while MU left eight on the bases in the extra frames. However, the Herd would come through as senior Samantha Spurlock collected a single up the middle in the bottom of the 10th to advance her team to the title game.
Playing in only its second C-USA title game, Marshall would have to face off against the top seeded Tulsa Golden Hurricane. A closely contest game would not go in favor of the Herd as UT was able to score the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and held off a Herd rally in the seventh to claim the tournament title.
Although it did not receive an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, the Herd’s season goes without noting its accomplishments. 15 conference wins ties for the highest total as a member of C-USA. Williamson’s 25 season wins set the single-season win mark at Marshall and her 268 strikeouts were just two shy of tying Sara Gulla’s single-season mark from 2001. Four players received all-conference honors and the Herd placed five players on the all-tournament team.