AUBURN, Ala. – Marshall softball opened its 2014 season with two losses in Day 1 of the Tiger Invitational in Auburn, Ala. on Friday.

The Thundering Herd was schedule for the first game of the day at Jane B. Moore Field against Western Illinois, which Marshall lost in six innings, 10-2. The Herd squared-off against host-school Auburn for the third game of the tournament and fell to the Tigers in five innings, 19-3.

Marshall will face Loyola Chicago and Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Western Illinois 10, Marshall 2
Freshmen Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.) and Morgan Zerkle (Milton, W.Va.) made their first collegiate starts against the Leathernecks Friday, and both had impressive first inning performances.

Dixon retired Western Illinois’ lineup in 1-2-3 fashion with two strikeouts and a lineout in the circle, while Zerkle (1-for-3) recorded her first hit with a one-out single. After a wild pitch and stolen base, sophomore Raquel Escareno (Wellington, Colo.) connected for a two-out RBI single to put the Herd on the board, 1-0.

Western Illinois came back firing in the second inning, scoring five runs off of five hits – including a two-out, three-run home run to push the Leathernecks ahead of the Herd, 5-1.

Western Illinois was able to keep the Herd scoreless for four innings, while continuously widening the gap. With runs in the third, fourth and sixth, the Leathernecks took a 10-1 lead.

Sophomore Shaelynn Braxton (Woodbridge, Va.) hit the first homer of the season with a shot over the right-center wall, but Marshall was unable to score again, allowing the Leathernecks to earn a run-rule victory after six innings of action, 10-2.

All of the Herd’s bullpen saw playing time against the Leathernecks. Dixon suffered the loss, but ended the game with five strikeouts in 2.1 innings.

Marshall concluded the game with five hits and two errors, while Western Illinois racked up 11 hits and committed one error.


Auburn 19, Marshall 3
Host-school Auburn capitalized on Marshall’s mistakes early, scoring four-runs. After two errors and a walk loaded the bases, a grand slam from the Tigers’ cleanup batter put Auburn on top, 4-0, with no outs threatening the inning.

Auburn was able to cross the dish once more, before Marshall got out of the first-inning jam, 5-0.

The Herd stayed scoreless through the second, and Auburn tacked on another run off of a Herd error in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead, 6-0.

Marshall rallied in the top of the third to cut the deficit in half, 6-3, beginning with a string of singles from junior Kristina Braxton (Woodbridge, Va.) and freshman Kaelynn Greene (Eastvale, Calif). Zerkle followed with a hit-by-pitch to load the bases. RBI-singles from sophomores S. Braxton (2-for-2) and Escareno, along with a sacrifice foul fly from Katalin Lucas (Agua Dulce, Calif.) posted three runs for the Herd.

Auburn fired back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third and racked up 11 more in the fourth, 19-3.

Greene (2-for-3) led the top of the fifth with a triple that bounced just inside of the left-field line. She scored off of a S. Braxton home run (second of the day), but the two runs would not be enough to prevent the run-rule, which forced the game to end in five innings.

All of the Herd’s bullpen saw action against the Tigers. Dixon took the loss, setting her record at 0-2.

Freshman Rebecca Myslenski (Seabrook, Texas) made her first collegiate start against the Tigers, along with redshirt freshman Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.), who had the only strikeout of the game.

The Herd had seven hits and seven errors in five innings of action, while the Tigers connected for 10 hits and remained errorless.

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