Marshall softball wins own Herd Invitational
by Debbie Rolen
HUNTINGTON — It was quite a day at Dot Hicks Field for the Marshall University softball team with two wins against Robert Morris.
With the help of Bri Anna Hope’s walk-off hits that ended both games on Saturday, the Thundering Herd claimed the Marshall Invitational victory with a 4-0 weekend.
The first game was sparked quickly by Robert Morris’ Haileigh Stocks home run in the top of the first. The Herd quickly tied the score after a double from senior Jazmine Valle (1-for-3) brought home Hope, who’d reached base on a walk.
After a 1-2-3 outing the Herd took the lead in the second inning after a single through the right side from freshman Kaelynn Greene (1-for-2) prompted senior Alysia Hively and senior Taylor Winton to advance. Senior Jessica Ferrick was hit by a pitch, which moved all runners over and allowed Hively to score. Hope (2-for-3) came up to the plate with bases loaded on one out and crushed the ball out of Dot Hicks Field to give Marshall a 5-1 advantage.
The Colonials struggled to get back in the game as the Herd kept pounding the ball into the playing field.
In the bottom of the third junior Savanah Webster (1-for-3) singled up the middle and Kristina Braxton was brought in to pinch run. After advancing on a stolen base, and a Hively (2-for-2) single, Braxton robbed RMU of home, stretching the lead to 6-1.
Winton (2-for-2) came up to the plate in the bottom of the fourth and smashed the ball out of the park to widen the lead to 7-1.
The fifth inning was the only scoreless inning for the Herd.
Colonials’ Tess Apke’s two-run double in the top of the sixth shortened the Herd’s lead to 7-3, but the Herd did not let up. Three back-to-back singles from Alexandra Bayne (1-for-3), Hively and Winton, who got the RBI, put another run board. Greene and Alyssa Cook both walked and allowed another run to score. Hope stepped up to the plate and a walk-off single allowed the eight-run rule to end the game.
Marshall hurlers Andi Williamson (Chapmanville Regional High School) and Halie Vance each gave up one hit in the six-inning game, combining for a total of two hits. The Herd raked up 10 hits and all 11 runs were earned.
Marshall kept the momentum going through the second game with a single from senior Ashley Gue (3-for-4) to lead off the bottom of the first. Hope (2-for-3) then doubled to the left side of the field, which put runners in scoring position for senior Jazmine Valle (1-for-3). The veteran ripped a single to left center that allowed her teammates to score and gave the Herd an early 2-0 lead.
Vance and the Marshall defense was able to keep the Colonials off the board until a two-run home run tied the game in the fourth. Williamson was brought in to close the inning, but the Herd struggled to score again.
The Colonials took the lead in the fifth after a Chelsea Evans single and stolen base put her in position to score off of Ashley Gerhart’s single to left center.
The Herd struggled to take the lead back, until Greene (1-for-3) sparked a two-out rally with a single to center field in the bottom of the seventh. Gue moved her over with a bunt single, and Hope crushed a walk-off double to win the game.
The Herd is now 10-9 on the season and 4-0 at home.
Marshall is scheduled to resume play in Lexington, Ky. against the host Kentucky Wildcats on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Herd wins openers
Marshall defeated the Buffalo Bulls (5-0) and the Robert Morris Colonials (7-3) on Friday at Dot Hicks Field in the home openers.
Senior hurler Andi Williamson had a total of 23 strikeouts for the day, while teammate and senior first baseman Alysia Hively hit two homeruns in the 7-3 win against RMU.
The first contest of the day was between Buffalo and Marshall started as a scoreless pitcher’s duel.
Williamson struck out 5-of-6 Bulls, while Buffalo’s pitcher Heather Ryder struck out 4-of-7 Marshall players through two innings.
The second game of the day was scoreless for one and a half innings, until Hively (2-for-3) brought some excitement into Dot Hicks Field with a two-out home run to give the Herd an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third, RMU came to the plate fierce and hit two solo-homers. The score was tied after senior Bri Anna Hope (2-for-3) tripled to center field and came home off of an up-the-middle single from senior Jazmine Valle (1-for-4).
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