MU softball rolls into C-USA Tournament

May 6, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University sent its senior softball players out in style Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game series sweep of Florida Atlantic University and claiming the No. 4 seed in the Conference USA Tournament.

A turnout of 600 spectators at Dot Hicks Field saw the Marshall senior class of Abigail Tolbert, Samantha Loose, Ali Burdette, Hannah Giammarino, Hayden Ellis, Abigail Estrada and Brian Daiss honored on the field before the Thundering Herd blanked the Owls 8-0 in five innings.

Marshall ended the regular season with a 36-18 record and a 17-7 conference mark.

“I’m so proud of our team today and especially the seniors,” Marshall head coach Megan Smith said in a HerdZone.com release. “They have given so much to this program and they deserved this outcome for their final game at The Dot.

“Today was a dominant performance in every aspect of the game. I’m excited to see how we compete next week in Birmingham (Alabama).”

The eight-team C-USA Tournament hosted by UAB is Wednesday through Saturday at Mary Bowers Field. Marshall begins tournament play at 6 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of the 1 p.m. game between No. 5 seed Southern Miss and No. 8 seed UTSA. The Herd game will be live streamed on ESPN+.

Sunday’s loss knocked FAU (20-30, 7-17) out of the running for a conference tournament berth and ended the Owls’ season.

A four-run first inning was all Marshall needed. Sophomore Armani Brown led off with single down the left-field line and sophomore Aly Harrell reached on an infield error. Freshman Mya Stevenson sent Brown home with a double to left-center, her team-leading 49th RBI of the season. With two on base, sophomore Rachel Rousseau launched a pitch over the fence in left for a three-run home run.

The Herd defense got out of the second inning with a 4-6-3 double play, then added three runs in the bottom half.

Harrell reached base on a fielder’s choice and Stevenson drew a walk before junior Blakely Burch rapped a base hit to left-center field that scored one run. Rousseau’s first triple down the left field line drove in two more and the Herd had a 7-0 advantage.

Ellis walked in the third inning and freshman Rachel Pennington entered as a pinch runner. Pennington stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Giammarino’s infield single.

FAU loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning when Jolie Duffner walked, Myah Murray singled and Angela Agurkis reached on a fielder’s choice, but the Owls didn’t get a run across.

The NCAA run rule ended the contest with Marshall leading by eight after five innings.

Tolbert pitched a complete game for her 23rd win this season (23-14). She allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six.

Rousseau finished the day 2 for 2 with a triple, a home run and a career-high five RBI. Brown went 2 for 3. Harrell reached base on two fielder’s choices and scored twice.