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Softball falls in home opener against No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats

On March 11, 2014

The Marshall University softball team played its first home game of the season against University of Kentucky Tuesday, but ended with a tough loss, 6-2.

The Herd entered the match with a 3-9 all-time record against Kentucky. Two of Kentucky’s wins came from last season, with a 4-3 win in regular season play and a 2-1 victory in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“We’re proud of what the kids did today,” Shaunda Stanton, head coach, said. “We’re still a young team, but we’re becoming consistent.”

Kentucky took an early lead, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning.

Stanton said that the team learned its lesson after the early runs.

“They were putting the ball into good spots early,” Stanton said. “However, Jordan [Dixon] came in and shut them down, and then we had a chance to talk to the team. It did them some good.”

The game remained scoreless and with only one hit between both teams until the bottom of the third, when Kristina Braxton from the Herd hit deep into center field for a single with two outs already for Marshall.

However, while Kaelynn Greene was batting, Braxton attempted to steal a base but couldn’t get there, having the third out for the Herd and ending the inning.

The next highlight of the game came in the bottom of the fourth. Morgan Zerkle hit an infield single and stole a base to put her in scoring position. Savanah Webster was then walked onto first base, before Braxton hit though the gap into center field.

Braxton was out herself, but allowed Zerkle to push to home for Marshall’s first run of the game. Raquel Escareno had a hit immediately afterward, allowing pinch runner Jessica Watts to also score. These points made the score 5-2 to end the fourth.

The next points from either team came in the top of the seventh. Nikki Sagermann hit a double for Kentucky and advanced to third on a hit by Emily Gaines.

When Sagermann’s teammate Emily Jolly was up to bat, she saw her chance to steal home. Although both Dixon and Taylor Winton were there, neither could get the tag. The top of the seventh ended with a score of 6-2.

The Herd came up to bat in an attempt to recover from its four-point deficit. However, the Herd was unable to recover and had to take the tough loss.

Zerkle, a freshman from Milton, W.Va., said she is proud of what she contributed to the game.

“I did pretty well today,” Zerkle said. “As a freshman, I’m still kind of nervous about some teams, but knowing that I can get out there and get it done is really cool.”

Marshall softball will be back in action at 1 p.m. Saturday against Tulsa for its first in conference home game of the season.

Gabi Warwick can be contacted at warwick@marshall.edu.

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