Softball falls to 2-1 to Western Kentucky in three-game series

Herd softball dropped Sunday’s game against Western Kentucky at WKU Softball Field, 4-1, to fall 2-1 in the series. With the loss, Marshall is now 23-24-1 overall and 11-9-1 in Conference USA.

“Unfortunately, today’s result isn’t surprising,” Marshall head coach Jen Steele said. “We didn’t play good softball all weekend. We battled and competed yesterday, but we didn’t execute any part of the game at a high level.”

In Sunday’s contest, the Herd got on the board first with a bases-loaded walk in the first inning. Freshman first baseman Aly Harrell walked home for sophomore third baseman Blakely Burch’s 10th RBI of the season. That would be the lone run Marshall would score in the competition.

WKU scored one in the fourth to tie it, then added on three runs in the sixth to take the game and series win.

“When you only score in 4-of-22 innings, commit eight errors in three games and give up seven extra base hits, it’s tough to win,” Steele said. “WKU is a good team, and they were hungry for wins after being on a losing skid.”

Marshall sophomore pitcher Kailee Williamson started the game and lasted 3 2/3 innings. She allowed one run off of six hits and one walk. Junior Abigail Tolbert stepped in the circle in the fourth and went the rest of the game, taking the loss. She allowed three runs (one earned) off of two hits and one walk.

Sunday’s result came following a day one split between both teams. The Hilltoppers took game one 8-6 and the Herd took game two 7-5.

In game one, the Herd jumped on the Hilltoppers early, scoring six runs in the second inning. However, WKU scored eight runs in the last five innings, to take the lead and the game.

Harrell drove her first career grand slam in the second inning for her ninth home run of the season. Senior second baseman Elicia D’Orazio stole her 162nd career base, tying Morgan Zerkle for most all-time steals.

The Hilltoppers scored one in the bottom of the second, scored again in the third, tied the game at 6-6 in the fourth and took an 8-6 lead in the fifth—a lead it would not relinquish.

Marshall won game two in eight innings. The Herd led for most of the game after an explosive, five-run third inning. The Hilltopppers battled back, though, to tie the game at five with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, forcing extra innings.

The Herd answered in the eighth with two runs of its own. Senior catcher Taylor McCord led off with a walk, then Burch advanced McCord to second off a sacrifice bunt. Senior Madi Marshall came on to pinch run for McCord, and freshman Rachel Rousseau came in to pinch hit. Rousseau drove a hit to the center field fence, scoring Marshall. Two batters later, freshman shortstop Grayson Radcliffe hit a double that scored Rousseau and gave the Herd an 8-6 lead.

The Hilltoppers had a chance to score, as they had two runners on and redshirt junior shortstop Brittany Vaughn at the plate. She drove in seven runs between the two games, but Tolbert got the strikeout to secure the Herd victory.

“It was a tough series and we didn’t really bring our a-game,” D’Orazio said, “When we have all of our stuff as a team we are unstoppable, but this weekend we just didn’t have all the tools we usually do.”

Marshall takes the field again Tuesday at Ohio University for a single game at 5 p.m.

Courtney Andrews can be contacted at [email protected]