March 4, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- In the home-opener against Kent State, the Marshall University softball team (7-8-1) rallied for a nine-inning 4-3 win in its first game on Friday afternoon. The Herd battled the Presbyterian Blue Hose to a 6-6 tie ballgame in the top of the seventh before officials halted it due to darkness.
Saturday's opening game with Buffalo playing Presbyterian is still scheduled for a 9 a.m. start. Marshall will finish Friday's halted 6-6 tied game against Presbyterian following the 9 a.m. games conclusion. The remainder of Saturday's games will continue as scheduled weather permitting. Check back to herdzone.com for updated information concerning the Marshall Invitational.
Kent State (6-10) led off with a 1-0 lead in the top of the second as Shannon Laughlin came around on a RBI single to center from Mary Holt.
The Herd would not stay down long, as it answered back with two runs of its own, 2-1, when Ashley Gue scored via a KSU error. Taylor Thompson crossed the plate soon after on a sacrifice bunt from Jessica Hughes.
Melanie Stoehr followed to go yard in left center during the fourth to edge a 3-1 advantage on her second homer of the year, 16th of her career.
"Melanie played exceptionally all-around," said head coach Shonda Stanton. "That is what we need out of her as a true senior leading this team."
The Golden Flashes knotted it up 3-3 in the top of the fifth with a homerun by Jessica Carmichael that scored pinch runner Lauren Mokler at third.
A 3-3 score pushed the game into extra innings under the International Tiebreaker rules, seeing the game pushed into a ninth inning where a heroics bunt from Alysia Hively plated the winning run, 4-3 from Rebecca Gamby.
"Hively is flat-out performing in the designated player role," Stanton said. "She continues to hit the ball hard and in clutch situations today she puts down a suicide squeeze and follows it up in the second contest against Presbyterian with a game-tying homerun."
Natalee Pulver was credited with her second win of the season, improving to 2-3 after 1.2 innings of relief and one strikeout. Andi Williamson (5-5) started in the circle for the Herd, pitching through the regulation of innings before be relieved in the eighth after a six-strikeout performance.
Due to darkness officials halted the Presbyterian versus Marshall game in the top of the seventh, which will resume after the 9 a.m. contest on Saturday weather permitting.
PC (7-2-2) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first frame with a homer from Leslie Hensley to left field plating three, one going unearned.
The Herd closed the gap in the second after Thompson was plated by a Hively single followed by Hively coming home on a Samantha Spurlock sacrifice bunt, making it a 3-2 game leading into the third.
The Blue Hose struck again in the third with a two-run homer off the bat of Morgan Durham to add safety in a 5-2 PC lead.
Marshall would not back away in the bottom of the third, continuing to register runs on the board - the Herd made it 5-3 after Amanda Lara crossed the plate on a Jazmine Valle double down the left line.
With two-out rally hats on in the bottom of the sixth the score would teeter-totter again as a three-run homerun from Hively tied it up at 6-6. Unfortunately due to darkness officials were forced to halt the game at the top of the seventh to be finished on Saturday.
"We have been telling Bennett to be patient, that her innings will come," said Stanton. "She has continued to prepare and focus. We saw the result of her commitment on the mound today."
Pulver exited the game after 2.1 innings of work and four strikeouts. Erika Bennett came in relief during the third to throw 3.2 innings before the game was halted. Bennett fanned a season-best six batters in the outing.
For up-to-date information about the Marshall Invitational visit the softball page on herdzone.com or by visiting here.