May 8, 2009
EL PASO, Texas -
The Marshall University softball team lost to the overall top seed Tulsa in the Helen of Troy Conference USA Softball Semifinals Friday in El Paso, Texas.
The No. 4 seed Thundering Herd (31-20) fell behind early in the first and battled back multiple times but the No. 1 seed Golden Hurricane (37-15) scored all five of their six runs with two outs in scoring innings.
"I'm really proud of this team and how they continued to fight especially after getting down early," head coach Shonda Stanton said. "We had quite a few opportunities to finish the game even with the last out with bases loaded. It goes to show the character of this group."
Tulsa got on the board early in the top of the first inning as Lauren Menke walked and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Vanessa Vice then singled to left field scoring Menke to take a 1-0 lead through the first.
The lead was extended to two in the second as Stephanie Chomicki reached on an error and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Skylar Swanson was walked on an illegal pitch as Marshall replaced junior Katie Murphree (Tallahassee, Fla.) for senior Autumn Mitchell (Shady Spring, W.Va.).
Lauren Lindsay singled to center plating Chomicki. Mitchell then collected a ground out and a strikeout to end the Golden Hurricane threat with two remaining on base.
In the bottom of the second, senior Rachael Sofie (Everett, Wash.) cut the deficit in half with a solo shot to right field with two outs. The home run was her seventh of the season tying her for the team lead.
Vice doubled for her second hit of the game in the third and with two outs, Jessica Stoelke singled to right field pushing the lead back to 3-1. In the inning, Mitchell collected all outs with strikeouts.
Tulsa continued to push it lead in the fourth as Swanson walked and Kailey Yarmer homered to left center. Through three and a half innings, the Golden Hurricane carried a 5-1 edge.
With time running out on the season, the Herd picked up two more runs in the fifth putting the game at 5-3 as freshman Melissa Loesing (Grapevine, Texas) and senior Joscelyn Bitner (Virginia Beach, Va.) both reached on singles.
Junior Caitlyn Jackson (Ontario, Calif.) singled to center to score Loesing and moving Bitner to third. With two outs, Tulsa's pitcher Jackie Lawrence had a wild pitch travel to the backstop allowing Bitner to come home.
In the seventh, Brooke Smart hit a solo home run pushing the lead back to three at 6-3 through six and a half. Mitchell finished the game for Marshall striking out 11 batters in 5.2 innings of work.
The Herd started the bottom half of the seventh loading the bases as freshman Alianna Telles (Sylmar, Calif.), Jackson and sophomore Melanie Stoehr (Tacoma, Wash.) all singled with one out.
Freshman Rebecca Gamby (Mount Victory, Ohio) hit a ground ball to second as they attempted to turn a double play getting Stoehr out at second but Gamby beat the throw allowing Telles to score.
Senior Kelly Nielson (Tucson, Ariz.) was then hit by a pitch to load the bases once again but Sofie would strike out swinging to end the contest. With the win, Tulsa will advance to the championship game to face the winner of Southern Miss and UTEP.
"I'm extremely proud of the five seniors and how they reconfirmed us as a legitimate contender in C-USA and we wish them all the best in what they pursue," Stanton added.