Herd softball travels south for Holy City Showdown


Richard Crank

Infielder Blakely Burch (55) fields a ground ball during Marshall’s 2018 game against Morehead State at Dot Hicks Field.

The Marshall women’s softball team is preparing for its third straight tournament this season after tying the program record in home runs in a game last weekend. The Thundering Herd is coming off a five-game series with three wins and two losses in the Battle at the Beach Tournament.

“I think it was a strong weekend,” head softball coach Megan Smith said. “We were really competitive.”

Marshall (7-3, 0-0 C-USA) is continuing to improve each game and stay active in the winning column.

Each of the Herd’s three losses have been by one run, said Smith.

“Comparing it from first weekend to second weekend, I think our defense was much improved, which was good to see,” Smith said. “Offensively, we saw more power, which was good to see.”

The Holy City Showdown is set to take place Friday through Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina, at two different schools. The College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University are the co-hosts of the three-day event.

The Herd will face off against five teams during the series: UMass-Lowell, Iowa State, UNC Wilmington, Charleston Southern and Appalachian State.

Its first opponent of the tournament, UMass-Lowell, is currently 2-3, 0-0 overall.

Smith said that the team has focused on a lot of establishing offensive identity and defensive sharpness during practice this week.

Smith also has an advantage overseeing one of the teams the Herd will face, Iowa State. Smith comes to Marshall from Kansas, where she faced the Cyclones in Big 12 Conference play each season.

“I think we’re going to be playing some really tough competition” Smith said. “It’s just another opportunity for us to go out and get better.”

Following the tournament, the Herd will return to Huntington and prepare for its first home midweek game Feb. 27 against the Ohio University Bobcats. Afterwards, the team will finish off the weekend with its first home three-game series against the Rider University Broncs. This will be the first time Smith gets to coach on Marshall’s own Dot Hicks Field.

“I think Huntington is an awesome place,” Smith said. “When I came for my interview, I fell in love with the charm of the city, the people, and how much people love Marshall. One of the great things about this place is that people love Marshall softball. That’s something you don’t find everywhere.”

First pitch in the Marshall’s opening game at the Holy City Showdown is set for 10 a.m. at the College of Charleston.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].