Herd keeps winning, sweeps Memphis
Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 31, 2013 22:03
The Marshall University softball team extended its overall win streak to 13 and its home winning streak at Dot Hicks Field to 20 with a weekend sweep over Conference USA opponent Memphis.
The series started Friday with a double header and proved to be a pitcher’s duel in the first game. Marshall’s ace pitcher Andi Williamson battled Ellen Roberts of Memphis through 11 scoreless innings, until Marshall’s Jazmine Valle hit a triple that brought in Bri-Anna Hope in the bottom of the 11th to give the Herd a 1-0 victory.
Williamson also took to the mound for the second and third games of the series and received better-run support in the final two games. Valle continued her momentum from the first game and went 3-3 with one run and three RBI, helping to lead the Herd to a 6-3 win. Williamson received her only break of the weekend in game two, as Halie Vance entered the contest in the 6th inning to record a six out save.
It was freshman Shaelynn Braxton who provided the spark Saturday for Williamson in game three. Braxton went 2-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, including a homerun that hit the Dot Hicks field scoreboard. Williamson pitched a complete game again with seven strikeouts as the Herd recorded a 6-1 win.
Braxton said the homerun she hit was special, as she was able to drive in her sister, Kristina, who was on as a pinch runner.
“There was a Braxton to Braxton thing going on there, so it’s a moment that I’ll remember forever,” Braxton said.
The 20-game winning streak at Dot Hicks Field stretches back to April 18, 2012, before Braxton was even a student at Marshall. Braxton said team leadership helps the Herd keep winning.
“Coming in with there being a win streak here already, it’s definitely a great thing to be a part of,” Braxton said. “With the senior leadership we have, they really emphasize how big of a thing winning is for our team.”
Marshall Head Coach Shonda Stanton said the strong offensive showing the team exhibited was mainly based on confidence.
“Hitting is so much about confidence,” Stanton said. “It’s contagious and it’s great to see our team put up runs Saturday because we knew today would be a battle, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how things are going for us now.”
The sweep moved Marshall’s overall record to 23-12 and 9-3 in conference. Memphis slipped to 14-25 on the season and fell to 3-9 in conference.
The Herd will next play Saturday in Houston. The Cougars stand in 3rd, just one spot ahead of Marshall in the C-USA Standings with an 8-1 record. Stanton said the games will be crucial for her squad.
“We have nine wins and they have eight, but they only have one loss. So if we take the series at Houston now, things are in our control and we can catch them,” Stanton said.
Williamson moved to 22-11 with a 2.21 ERA and jumped past 250 total strikeouts with 253 on the season.
Alysia Hively also hit a homerun Saturday, extending her team high total to seven.
Kyle Gibson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.