Softball Drops Home Finale To Marshall, 3-1
April 30, 2006
Marshall (31-22; 15-9 C-USA) 201 000 0 - 3 4 0 Memphis (27-24; 9-11 C-USA) 000 000 0 - 1 2 2SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Jenna Kubesch allowed just four hits and three runs to a powerful Marshall offense, but Thundering Herd hurler Abigail Harter was even better, holding the Lady Tigers to one run on two hits, as the U of M dropped its final home game of the season, 3-1, Sunday at Greenbrook Park.
Marshall scored two runs in the first and added another in the third to take a 3-0 advantage, and that was more than enough for Harter, who allowed just one run in the bottom of the sixth and took the complete-game victory.
"Marshall is a great team and Abigail Harter pitched an outstanding ballgame," said Coach Windy Thees. "She knew what we wanted to hit and put it almost there, but never gave us the really good pitches to hit."
The Thundering Herd came out of the box quick against Kubesch, plating a pair of runs on three hits to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Ashley Mitchell drew a walk and Rachel Folden doubled to put runners at second and third with one out. Jessica Williams then had a RBI single up the middle to score Mitchell, before Samantha Rodriguez plated Folden on a one-bagger through the left side.
Memphis had one of its few true opportunities to score in the bottom of the second, putting runners on second and third with two outs. But Folden caught Bridgette McNulty too far off the base at third to end the threat.
After getting Marshall out of the jam on defense, Folden came right back to give the Herd a three-run advantage in the top of the third as she hit her 18th homerun of the season to leftcenter, tying the C-USA record homers in a season.
Following the three early runs, Kubesch settled down and held Marshall in check, not allowing a hit after the third inning. However, the Lady Tiger bats could never find an answer for Harter, as they could just manage just the one run in the bottom of the sixth. Leila Dolfo claimed the lone Memphis RBI, ripping a double to centerfield to score pinch-runner Brittany Gooch all the way from first and make the score 3-1.
"We really asked a lot of Jenna this weekend in starting all three games, and she performed tremendously," said Thees. "We played well on defense too, but just couldn't get the big hits when we needed them." Memphis displayed some outstanding defensive plays on the day, with Lindsey Pridgen laying out for a highlight-reel catch in rightcenter and Dolfo making several tough plays from deep in the hole at shortstop.
The Lady Tigers also had several chances to score, putting runners on base in five of seven innings. But they could bring just the one plateward, as Dolfo's double and a single by McNulty to lead off the second were the only hits the U of M could muster.
Harter worked the full seven innings, giving up the one earned run, to move to 15-9 on the season. Kubesch was handed her second loss of the series and falls to 12-11 on the year after allowing the three earned runs and fanning five.
With the loss, Memphis drops to 27-24 on the campaign and 9-11 in C-USA, while Marshall improves to 31-22 overall and 15-9 in league play.
The U of M loss was made even more taxing by an East Carolina sweep over Southern Miss on the weekend, which allowed the Pirates to overtake Memphis by a half game for the sixth spot in the league standings. The Lady Tigers now sit in seventh-place, a half game behind both ECU and Southern Miss, with all three teams having three games left to play.
On the bright side, however, should there be a tie in the standings, Memphis does hold tiebreakers over the Pirates and the Golden Eagles, after taking 2-1 series wins over both teams earlier in the season.
The Lady Tigers will attempt to play their way into the Conference USA Tournament in their inaugural season next weekend when they wrap up the regular-season slate with a three-game series at Houston.