By: Mark ShermanAssociated Press
March 19, 2013
HUNTINGTON — Senior first baseman Alysia Hively’s walk-off, two-run homer concluded the Marshall softball (14-12, 3-3 C-USA) contest against Southern Miss (10-20, 0-6 C-USA) on Sunday at Dot Hicks Field.
The Thundering Herd has posted a 7-0 record on home turf after the 8-6 victory.
The game completed a three-game weekend sweep over Southern Miss.
Hively (2-for-3) hit two crucial homers over the left-side wall in the game. The first was a three-run bomb that gave the Herd its first lead of the day, 6-5, in the bottom of the fifth inning. The second was the game-ending hit that pushed Marshall ahead of Southern Miss, 8-6. This will be the second time Hively hit two home runs in a game and the second time she hit them out of the Dot (last was against Robert Morris, March 1.)
Ten of the 14 combined runs scored in the matchup between the Herd and the Golden Eagles were off home runs by both teams.
Senior Andi Williamson, a Chapmanville Regional High School graduate and Harts native, gave up five hits and walked seven batters, while the Southern Miss pitching staff allowed six hits and walked eight of the Herd’s lineup.
The game was played in a constant state of snow and rain, and began with a scoreless first inning.
In the top of the second, Southern Miss’ Michelle Stringer drew the first walk of the game from Williamson on two outs, while teammate Jenifer Gary (1-for-3) registered the first hit of the game with a two-run home run to right field. After a strike out ended the inning, the Herd immediately started to chase the lead.
Sophomore Kristina Braxton was brought in to pinch run for senior Jazmine Valle (1-for-2), who reached base on a walk to lead off the bottom half of the second. Braxton advanced to second and third on wild pitches, and Hively reached first base on a one-out walk. Freshman Alexandra Bayne pinch ran for Hively and stole second. Freshman Raquel Escareno (1-for-2) was walked to load the bases. A pair of wild pitches permitted Braxton and Bayne to score, evening the score at 2-2 before the second and third out of the inning.
In the top of the third, back-to-back walks put runners on base, while a passed ball advanced them to second and third. With no outs on the board, Golden Eagles’ Morgan McKeever (1-for-3) homered over the left field wall to take the lead of the game, 5-2. The next three hitters struck out swinging.
The fourth inning was scoreless for both teams, but Jazmine Valle sparked some life in the Herd after a walk and stolen base on two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman Katalin Lucas (1-for-2)drew a walk, putting runners on first and second for Hively, who took the opportunity to smash a three-run home run to take the lead for the first time in the game, 6-5. Escareno doubled to right center, but was left stranded on base with a grounder that forced the third out of the inning.
Southern Miss notched an unearned run on the board in a three-error, no-hit sixth inning to tie the game, and kept the Herd off the board in the bottom half of the inning.
Back-to-back walks from Williamson put runners on first and second, but the Golden Eagles’ confused base runners allowed the Herd to take two off the bases when a single turned into a double play for Marshall. The final out of the inning was at home plate and aided by a colossal throw from junior Savanah Webster from right field.
The game ended after a one-out single put Lucas on base, followed by a walk-off home run from Hively.
The Marshall softball team swept Southern Miss on Saturday at Dot Hicks Field, winning 6-0 and 8-6.
The Thundering Herd had a whopping 21 hits in both games combined and a total of 10 stolen bases to uphold its undefeated home record, 6-0.
Marshall freshman Kaelynn Greene went 6-for-7 on the day with five runs and four stolen bases.
In the circle, senior Andi Williamson had a total of 16 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched and kept the Golden Eagles off the board in a 6-0 shutout in the second game of the day.
Greene is the first player to score more than two runs (3) in a game this season, and it is the second time this season that she steals three bases in a single game (last was against Drexel on Feb. 25).
“I think Andi (Williamson) gave us good pitching and our defense was solid behind her,” Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton said. “Kaelynn Greene had a monster day putting the ball in play. She (Greene) was a tough out for them (Southern Miss). Savanah Webster had a great offensive day. Raquel hit a bomb, which was nice to see, and overall, I was really pleased with how we put the ball in play.”
The Herd will be heading to Florida on Tuesday for games against Stetson (15-9, 0-3 Atlantic Sun) and the University of Central Florida (16-14, 1-5 C-USA) this week.