Herd softball takes series over FAU

After four tightly contested contests with the Florida Atlantic Owls, the Marshall softball team won three out of four, earning a series victory in its final home series of the season.

The Herd improved its record to 15-8 overall and 4-4 in Conference USA play. The Florida Atlantic Owls drop to 9-26 overall and 4-8 in C-USA play.

Marshall head coach Megan Smith Lyon said that FAU was a good test for the Herd.

“We are excited about getting a series win,” Smith Lyon said. “They were some tough, hard-fought games. What I think I am most impressed with from our group is how hard they fought from that first game to the last out of this last game.”

The Herd eked out a 1-0 win in game one. Senior shortstop Sierra Huerta recorded the only RBI of the game when she was walked in the third inning with the bases loaded. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Cailey Joyce held FAU scoreless through the entire game and improved her pitching record to 2-1.

Prior to the Saturday doubleheader, the Herd softball team honored its senior class of 2021.

Huerta, pitchers Megan Stauffer and Laney Jones and third baseman Blakely Burch were among those honored.

After the festivities, an offensive showcase was on display in both games at Dot Hicks Field.

The Owls took the first game of the doubleheader 11-9 while Marshall took the second matchup 8-7 in nine innings.

Game two of the series had a total of six home runs – three by each team. Junior utility player Mya Stevenson had one of those, temporarily surpassing senior first baseman Aly Harrell for the second most home runs in program history (37).

Stevenson would go on to hit her 38th career home run in game three of the series, but Harrell would add one too, closing back in on second place spot. Harrell eventually did just that, as she hit her 38th career home run in game four.

But before her game four homer, Harrell She went 4-5 at the plate with four RBIs in game three. One of those hits – a two-run home run – demolished the windshield of a car past the outfield fence. She followed that up with a game winning RBI double to guide Marshall to a win in extra innings.

Harrell said that that happened once the ball left the park astonished her.

“I actually didn’t see it until I came into the dugout,” Harrell said. “I looked out there, I didn’t know a ball could do that, go through (the windshield).”

Harrell said that even though she hit the game winner, it was a complete team effort in game three.

Senior designated hitter Saige Pye made extra innings possible with a two RBI double in the bottom of the seventh.

“We were able to go into extras with Saige having my back to tie it up,” Harrell said. “It feels good to be able to help my team out any way I could.”

Game four was another tight contest, but for most of the game, Marshall was in control. Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Herd had a 6-1 lead. Joyce, once again, was the starting pitcher and had put together six innings.

FAU would go on the attack, with three base hits and a RBI before Owls pinch hitter Jalynn Ford hit a three-run homer off of Laney Jones, cutting the Marshall lead to one. The Owls late surge fell short, as the Herd hung on to win the game 6-5.Joyce’s record improved to 3-1 as a pitcher.

Marshall is set to travel to Miami, Florida to take on the Florida International Golden Panthers for its next four-game series. The softball games will take place on Friday (5 p.m.), Saturday (1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.), and Sunday (11 a.m.).

Noah Hickman can be contacted at [email protected].