March 19, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -
The Marshall University softball split its first nonconference doubleheader of the season against Cleveland State Thursday at Dot Hicks Field.
Both games came down to the final inning as the Thundering Herd (15-8) took game one after an error by the Vikings (9-9) winning 3-2 but fell short in the bottom of the seventh in game two as Marshall lost to Cleveland State 4-3.
"We are very fortunate this was a nonconference opponent with the way that we came out today," head coach Shonda Stanton said. "In a way we failed to come out with the focus and intensity required to be successful on this diamond.
The loss in game two today breaks a six game winning streak for the Herd. All of those six wins came at Dot Hicks Field and the team is now 8-2 at home this season.
The one thing that this team needs to get comfortable with is our ability to juggle the line-up and still get the performance that we need. Each player needs to take advantage of the opportunity they get and execute."
The Vikings put up the first run of the game in the first as Christa Coppus singled to center field followed by a another single by Amanda Houchin. Both runners would advance to second and third respectively on a throwing error.
With two runners, Mimi Mahon was intentionally walked and with two outs Katelyn Ciminelli got pegged by junior Katie Murphree (Tallahassee, Fla.) plating the first run. Cleveland State extended its lead to two runs as Amy Powell doubled to start the inning and her pinch runner, Andrea Nagy scored on a double steal attempt.
The Herd answered back with back-to-back runs in the third and fourth. In the third, senior Joscelyn Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va.) reached on a fielder's choice and stole second before junior Caitlyn Jackson (Ontario, Cali.) hit her home with a double.
The second run was scored as junior Marcena Bertoldo
(Beaumont, Calif.) singled and was sacrificed over by senior Rachael Sofie
(Everett, Wash.). After reaching third on a wild pitch, senior Kelly Nielson
(Tucson, Ariz.) hit Bertoldo home with a single.
With the game tied at two, Marshall finished the game in the seventh with a walk-off error by the Vikings. Senior Rachel Schmidt (Alliance, Ohio) entered the game as a pinch hitter singling to the left side.
After two outs, Bitner singled again moving Schmidt putting runners on the corners for Jackson who hit a hard shot to shortstop where Natalie DeMatteis bobbled the ball allowing it to go by her and allowing Schmidt to score.
Bertoldo finished the game 2-for-2 and was hit by a pitch while Jackson and Nielson each picked up one RBI. Murphree was credited with her sixth and team leading win of the year with five strikeouts.
In the first inning, Cleveland State capitalized again with an early run as Megan Bashak walked and bunted over by Coppus. Lia Gordon singled to left scoring Bashak but was thrown out trying to take second base.
Marshall responded quick in the bottom of the first with two runs on two hits as Bitner started the inning with a leadoff double. Freshman Alianna Telles (Sylmar, Calif.) was hit by a pitch putting two on with no one out.
Bitner stolen third base and scored on the bad throw by Amy Powell from the backstop. Jackson then came to the plate and singled up the middle scoring Telles and giving the Herd its first lead of the game.
It wouldn't be until a big sixth inning when the Vikings took the game over again with three runs. Houchin started off the rally with a single followed by Gordon reaching on an error by Bertoldo.
Mahon plated the first run with a double and placing Gordon on third. With two on, Marshall replaced senior Autumn Mitchell (Shady Spring, W.Va.) with Jackson. Mitchell went five innings with two K's.
The inning continued as Ciminelli singled to right center scoring two runs and giving Cleveland State a 4-2 edge.
As they did in the first game, the Herd tried to battle back in the seventh as sophomore Melanie Stoehr (Tacoma, Wash.) hit her third home run of the year putting the team down one. Sofie continued the come back with a double but ended up stranded at second as the game ended.
"The only positive is we get a day to focus and have a good day of practice to get ready for a very good Southern Miss team that's coming in here," Stanton said.
The Herd will wrap up its 13 game home stand with a three game series against Conference USA opponent Southern Miss. As Marshall sits atop the C-USA standing, the Golden Eagles are in a tie for fourth place.
The weekend begins with a 1 p.m. EST start time Saturday for the doubleheader and 12 p.m. Sunday.
Live game statistics will be available via Gametracker and on the airwaves of WMUL 88.1 FM and at http://www.marshall.edu/wmul. All of the Herd's home games are also available with live streaming with Herd All-Access.