Herd’s Rousseau named C-USA Co-Player of the Week
HUNTINGTON - It didn’t take Marshall University sophomore outfielder Rachel Rousseau long to make her presence felt in the Thundering Herd softball lineup.
After missing nearly two months because of an injury Rousseau went 4-for-9 with two home runs and six runs batted in to lead Marshall to a series win over Conference USA leader Western Kentucky, who was undefeated in league play coming into the weekend.
The effort earned Rousseau the honor of C-USA Co-Player of the Week that she shared with Louisiana Tech’s Jazlyn Crowder.
Rousseau returned to the lineup after missing 30 games because of a boxer’s fracture - a broken pinkie knuckle - on her left hand.
For weeks, Rousseau wasn’t allowed to pick up a glove, bat or ball. That didn’t keep her from picking up right where she left off at the plate, though.
“I knew I had been gone a while, but I felt really good in practice,” Rousseau said. “I just knew that, with live pitching, I’d just have to see it. In the first game back, I felt better about being back and the only thing I could think was, ‘Get the job done.’ It ended up working.”
In her first game back on Saturday, Rousseau provided the game’s pivotal hit, unloading the bases with a grand slam homer that turned a 3-2 Marshall lead into a comfortable cushion. The momentum continued from there as Marshall handed Western Kentucky its first conference loss of the year in a 10-2 mercy-rule shortened Thundering Herd win.
Rousseau then provided the punctuation mark on Marshall’s strong weekend when she sent an eighth-inning pitch over the left-center field wall to give the Herd an 8-7 walk-off win and the series victory over the Hilltoppers.
The walk-off hit was the second of Rousseau’s career. The other came on Senior Day last season when she got the game-winning two-run double to top Middle Tennessee.
Marshall coach Megan Smith said Rousseau -- also known as “Roo” -- adds a dimension to a Marshall team whose confidence is peaking after a strong conference series win over the Hilltoppers.
“We were lucky to get her back when we did because she came up big,” Smith said. “The way our team fought, it bodes well for us moving forward. We’ve got Roo back doing well and our pitching is fighting. The tone and the culture in our dugout right now couldn’t be better, and that’s huge moving forward.”
Rousseau is another successful in-state product within the Marshall athletic family. She is a Morgantown native who played at University High School.
Marshall (25-13, 8-4 conference) travels to Miami for a C-USA series beginning Saturday at FIU.