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Herd stays hot over spring break

By JARROD CLAY
On March 28, 2012

For the girls of the Marshall softball team spring, break was anything but a break.

The Thundering Herd played nine games in a seven -day stretch including a six game road trip to start off the spring break week.

The Herd started its road swing in Memphis, Tenn., sweeping Conference USA foe Memphis, Tenn. in three shutout games by scores of 1-0, 1-0 and 6-0.

Marshall remained in the Volunteer State to take on Lipscomb and Belmont. The Herd split a pair of games with Lipscomb before capping off the trip with an 11-7 victory of the Bruins of Belmont.

It was a great road swing, said Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton. To be able to take five out of six on the road is huge. A lot of different people got involved, and a lot of different people stepped up.

The Herd then returned home for a three-game series against the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Game one remained close, but the Blazers were able to outlast Marshall, handing the Herd a 3-2 loss.

We werent able to play to our strengths because we didnt hit or even draw any walks, Stanton said. Our plate discipline was extremely poor. We didnt have any quality at-bats.

Game two was not so close. UAB dominated Marshall in the most lopsided game of the series taking the game in five innings 8-0.

For us, that was one of the catchers in the league that we felt we were able to run on, and defensively they are a team that makes mistakes, Stanton said. When you cant put the ball in play and you have two hits in one game and four hits in another game you arent going to be able to play to your strengths, Stanton said.

In the final game of the series, Marshall fell behind 3-0 in the first inning before rallying to tie the game at three in the bottom of the fourth. The game then turned into a pitchers duel until the top of the seventh when UABs Kristen McGrath hit her second homerun of the game giving the Blazers their final lead of the game at 4-3.

The sweep drops Marshall to 5-4 in C-USA play and marks the first time this season the Herd has been swept in a series.

It was just a combination of us not being able to play to our strength really hurt, and if were going to compete in Conference USA, we have to put up more runs, Stanton said. Thats been a problem for us all year. We know what our offensive numbers need to be. We just havent got the job done.

After the brief home stand with UAB, the Herd will return to the road as it will head to El Paso, Texas for a three game series with the UTEP Miners.

We just played nine games in seven days so that was a lot so I know some of our girls were a little bit fatigued, Stanton said. Its nice to get a little time off to prepare for UTEP.

Gameplay between the Herd and Miners gets underway at 4 p.m. Friday.

Jarrod Clay can be contacted at clay105@marshall.edu.

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