As Conference USA action hits the half-way mark of the season, the Marshall University softball team will host the Memphis Tigers this weekend at Dot Hicks Field. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m., and the final game of the series is slated for a noon start on Sunday.
The Thundering Herd improved its overall record with a pair of non-conference victories at Wright State on Wednesday, giving them a 15-20 overall mark. MU still carries a 1-8 C-USA record heading into the weekend.
Memphis boasts a 23-10 record and an even keeled 6-6 C-USA tally. The Tigers are fresh off two wins against Alabama State on Wednesday and have won six of their last ten contests. Offensively Heather Mott and Jessica Phillips pace a club that is collectively hitting at a .223 clip overall and .181 in conference.
Mott leads the team in runs scored, 24, and hits, 28, while Phillips chips in with a team-best 10 home runs and 29 RBI.
In the circle the Tigers use its depth between the trio of Janelle Valle, Carly Hummel and Lauren Carley. Valle holds a bullpen-best 1.69 ERA in 29.0 innings of work for Conference USA. Hummel has notched a best three wins in conference with 29 strikeouts in 25.1 innings while Carley follows behind with 23.0 innings logged.
Despite a slow start in conference, the Herd has seen production from Rebecca Gamby – who continues to pose a threat to opposing pitchers in conference as the junior has homered against each C-USA foe MU has faced thus far, giving her a team-best four home runs in conference and nine on the season.
Marshall continues to buckle down on the bases, stealing an impressive single-game high nine at Wright State earlier in the week. The consistency swiping 60 free feet has bumped the Herd to first in the nation for stolen bases per game, at 2.8, tying them with Akron.
Erika Bennett is coming off an incredible outing at WSU, notching her second save of the season in Marshall’s 7-6 win, followed by picking up her second win of the year in the 1-0 shutout against the Raiders. The Herd’s player to watch in the circle also has a squad-best 0.62 ERA in conference in 11.1 innings pitched while allowing only one earned run.
This weekend marks MU’s annual Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Game, which will be held during the twin bill Saturday. Fans are encouraged to wear pink while supporting breast cancer awareness and your Thundering Herd.