The Marshall University softball team gears up for the 2011 Conference USA Softball Championship where it will face second-seeded Tulsa on Thursday at 11 a.m. The eight-team three-day tournament is hosted by East Carolina in Greenville, N.C.
The No. 7 Thundering Herd carries a 19-32-1 record overall and a final Conference USA record of 5-17-1 into the matchup against the Golden Hurricane (41-12, 19-5 C-USA). Marshall’s last appearance at the league tournament was in 2009 where MU fell 6-4 to Tulsa.
In the series matchup between the two squads, TU leads 13-5, claiming the three-game series in 2011. Against the Golden Hurricane this year Alianna Telles hit a team-best .375 roping a triple and one run scored. Six Herd players tallied hits against Tulsa including Rebecca Gamby and Melanie Stoehr belting home runs against a pitching staff that concluded the season with a 1.77 ERA.
MARSHALL AT C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP
Since joining the league in 2006, the Herd has competed at the tournament every season with the exception of one. MU has faced Tulsa a total of three times in the post season, as Thursday will be the fourth meeting for the teams.
MARSHALL AT A GLANCE
Gamby paces the squad in hits (41), home runs (12) and RBI (31) while the offensive production has found a boost from Ashley Gue’s .309 batting average and seven-game hitting streak. Against conference opponents Gamby and Alianna Telles have a team-high 18 hits to Gamby’s seven long balls and a much needed consistency from Alysia Hively who has contributed with 14 hits, four runs and three homers.
Marshall can work through a deep bullpen with Andi Williamson, Natalee Pulver and Erika Bennett as possible starters. Bennett has a staff best 3.21 ERA while Williamson and Pulver’s 25 strikeouts apiece in league action have seen the pair to two and three wins, respectively.
TULSA AT A GLANCE
A stacked lineup gives the Herd defense plenty of competition as four TU batters are hitting above the .320 clip. Led by Caitlin Everett, the Golden Hurricane’s leader at the dish has 31 runs, a .399 batting average, and 67 hits to her name. In conference action she improves to a .416 clip and along with Jill Barrett has tallied 32 hits and 16 runs.
Freshmen Aimee Creger has a C-USA best 0.83 ERA, 0.77 in league games, to give her a 22-2 record heading into the matchup.
Live streaming will be available for six of the seven games starting with the opening pitch at 11 a.m. Thursday with Marshall against Tulsa. The championship game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. GameTracker will be provided for all contests for free. More information about game video and pitch-by-pitch coverage can be found at the Softball Championship Central page at www.ConferenceUSA.com/championships/11-w-softbl-championship.html.
Tournament Schedule is as follows:
Thursday, May 12
Game 1: No. 2 Tulsa vs. No. 7 Marshall 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 3 UAB vs. No 6 UCF 1:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 4 Memphis vs. No. 5 ECU 4:30 p.m.
Game 4: No. 1 Houston vs. No 8 Southern Miss 7 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Game 5: Winners of Game 1 & 2, 2 p.m.
Game 6: Winners of Game 3 & 4, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 14
Game 7: Winners of Game 5 & 6, 1 p.m. CBSSN