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Softball

Herd Softball Begins Conference USA Play at UAB

March 9, 2018

Marshall Game Notes
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Marshall softball team hits the road for the fifth-straight week to take on the UAB Blazers to begin Conference USA play. The series begins with a Saturday doubleheader at 11:30 a.m. eastern, and a final game on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern.

Marshall is 8-12 while UAB is 7-17.

Fans can tune in to the Marshall radio broadcast on www.marshall.edu/wmul through one of the Listen Live links on the right hand side. The live video stream will be provided by UAB through CUSAtv.com.

Last Time Out: Carolina Classic at No. 20 South Carolina
Marshall as a unit played better, but the end result was not quite there. The Herd finished the weekend 1-4 with the lone win coming against George Washington (2-0). Marshall was in each game with the exception of the final game against No. 20 South Carolina. Junior Abigail Tolbert continued to pitch well for Marshall going the distance against George Washington and then pitching six innings against No. 20 South Carolina in the first match up (March 3). Tolbert held the Colonials to just two hits in what became her third-straight complete game, shutout victory. Against the Gamecocks, Tolbert held the hard-hitting squad to seven hits and five runs while striking out three. Freshman Aly Harrell punched out her first career home run in the top of the seventh against Liberty (March 4). Harrell is slugging .607 to begin the season. Fellow freshman Samantha Koehn recorded her first career double in a 2-of-3 performance against South Carolina (March 3).

SCOUTING THE BLAZERS
UAB has a new head coach for the first time since the program began, as Marla Towsend was promoted within the Athletic Department. Amanda Ellis, who has been an assistant since 2014 and also played for Townsend from 2001-04, is now the head coach. The Blazers are off to a rough 7-17 start but have played some very tough competition. UAB has hit the field against Michigan, USF, Florida, Stanford, UCLA, Alabama, South Alabama and Louisville. The Blazers just dropped a doubleheader to Kennesaw State on Wednesday. Sophomore Destini England leads the team hitting .342. As a group, the Blazers are hitting .253 and have been outscored this season 137-71. They are struggling defensively with 50 errors in 24 games and a team fielding percentage of .928. Freshman pitcher Emily Kachel has been the go-to arm in the circle leading with 77 innings pitched, a 2.55 ERA, 56 strikeouts and a 5-6 record. The team ERA is 3.92 and opponents are currently hitting .302.

The Series: 38 meetings, UAB leads 21-17
Marshall and UAB met for the first time in 2001 at the Georgia Tournament. It was just the second season in existence for the Blazers program. The teams split those first two matchups. The two squads did not meet again until 2006 when Marshall moved into Conference USA. Since then, the series has been one of the better rivalries in Marshall's history. The Herd swept the first series in 2006, but the Blazers won the next six series including two sweeps in 2011 and 2012. However, at the conference tournament in 2012, hosted in Birmingham, Marshall and UAB played a thriller that went into the night and finally ended in the 10th. Senior Samantha Spurlock slapped a single up the middle with bases loaded that scored freshman Kristina Braxton from third and gave Marshall the walk off win and the chance to play for the Championship.

The Herd lost a doubleheader at UAB in 2013. The final game was rained out and instead the two teams went into a massive tarp-sliding party. In the conference tournament, Marshall once again eliminated the Blazers in another tight battle with a 1-0 win. The Herd advanced to the Championship, winning its first C-USA Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Regionals. With the conference expansion in 2014, Marshall and UAB did not meet during the regular season but were again paired up in the tournament. The Herd, for the third straight season, eliminated the Blazers with a 4-0 victory. In 2015, Marshall won its first series over UAB since 2006 but dropped the final game. Then in the conference tournament, surprise surprise, Marshall and UAB met on the field together again. This time, UAB got the better of the Herd with a 3-1 win.

The last series, the Blazers visited Huntington as Marshall took 2-of-3 games in the 2017 regular-season finale. In game one, junior Elicia D'Orazio broke the program record for steals in season recording her 52nd. Senior Morgan Zerkle belted a home run in her final plate appearance at Dot Hicks Field.


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