Saturday, 18 May 2013 23:03

Herd falls to Hokies in 13th innings, 3-2, to end NCAA run at 1-2

Written by  WOODY WOODRUM, Herd Insider Publisher

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Marshall University had never been the the NCAA Regionals before, so it seemed as if the Thundering Herd was trying to squeeze as much as possible out of every game.

Marshall lost to Kentucky in an eight inning game on Friday night, 2-1, then beat Notre Dame 3-1 in seven innings on Saturday afternoon.

But Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in an elimination game was a classic, a 13 inning game in front of 1,547 Herd, Hokies and interested ‘Cats fans had a little bit of everything, including a mid-game protest by Marshall Coach Shonda Stanton that was not resolved as the broadcast on ESPN3 and WMUL 88.1 FM, the MU student station, went off the air.

In a game that took over 3.5 hours, in the end, Marshall (36-22) blinked first in the 13th and the Hokies got the win, and the chance to try to beat UK twice on Sunday — they lost to the ‘Cats, 6-2, in the early game of a long Saturday at John Cropp Stadium at the University of Kentucky.

Virginia Tech got a two-out double by pinch-hitter/left fielder Amanda Ake, who moved to third on an error by Ashley Gue in centerfield, when she dropped the ball off the wall, allowing Ake to move up to 60-feet from the plate.

Bkaye Smith stepped up and finally delivered for the Hokies with a two-out single to give the Hokies a 2-1, 13 inning win — depending on if the protest is held up or not.

Most troubling in the loss was the Herd not only left 18 runners on bases in 13 innings, but the Herd was a dreadful 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in the game, most notably in the top of the 13th.

Marshall loaded the bases with no outs on a Bri Anna Hope infield single, a bunt hit by Kaelynn Greene and a throwing error in tying to run down Hope between second and third and then trying to gun down Greene at second.

Marshall ended up with runners at second and third when Bri Anna Hope singled, then Kaelynn Greene bunted to sacrifice, turned it into a hit and both players were safe in a rundown when the Hokies made an error, but MU got no runs with the bases loaded and on outs in the 13th. (NCAA/Herd Insider)

Gue was intentionally walked, but Marshall did not get a run when Jazmine Valle lined out to right, as Hope was too far off the third base bag to tag and try to score.

A strikeout on a missed bunt by Shaelynn Braxton was the second out of the 13th, then Alexandra Bayne flew out to right to end the game.

Andi Williamson threw the equivalent of three games in a doubleheader for the Herd, having to beat Notre Dame in the first losers bracket game at 3:30 p.m. — winning that game, 3-1 — and then playing against Virginia Tech 30 minutes later, as Tech lost the 1 p.m. first game of the day to Kentucky, now 2-0 in the Lexington Regional.

Williamson threw 334 pitches in two games, 118 against the Irish then 216 pitches against the Hokies.

Still, Williamson goes 12.2 innings against Tech, with three runs, two earned, eight hits, just three walks and nine strikeouts, setting a new career strikeout mark at Marshall with 731 over three seasons — passing Marshall Hall of Fame pitcher Sarah Gulla, who had 727 strikeouts from 1998-2001.

For Tech, Jasmin Harrell threw 184 pitches in the game, going 13.0 innings with two runs, one earned, 13 hits, six walks and 13 strikeouts, getting the Herd out most when it counted — with runners in scoring position.

Williamson faced 54 batters in the game, while Harrell faced 59.

It was a sloppy game, with Marshall committing five errors and Tech committing four, and the Herd actually out-hit the Hokies by 13-to-8.

“First off, hats off to Marshall,” said Tech head coach Scot Thomas. “I mean, Andi Williamson just did an unbelievable job out there pitching two full games.

"Hats off to her and the way those girls played. We knew we were going to be in for a battle all the way, but I tell you what, when you get into those types of games,

"I was really impressed with what they were able to do. I was impressed with what we were able to do. We hung in there, battled through some bases-loaded jams,

"Jasmin (Harrell) threw great, and we were able to get a run there in the 13th. What a great game for everybody. The fans and everyone involved. It was a great regional game.”

Tech scored the winning run in the 13th inning, with a double, a MU error (the Herd's fifth) and a two-out single to take the NCAA Regional, 3-2. (NCAA/Herd Insider)

For the Hokies, right fielder Kat Banks was 2-for-5, Ake was 1-for-2, had VT’s only extra-base hit and scored the winning run while pinch-hitter/left fielder Betty Rose was 1-for-2.

Lauren Gaskill, the Tech center fielder, was 0-for-4 but walked once, stole the only base for either team and scored a run, and so did second baseman Kylie McGoldrick, who was 1-for-5 with the run scored.

Emileigh Cooper celebrates a run scored by Ashley Gue against the Hokies, as Gue went 3-for-6 in the Virginia Tech game after stealing three bases in the Notre Dame win. (courtesy NCAA/Herd Insider)

Marshall’s leading hitter was Greene, who was 3-for-7 in the leadoff spot, and she scored a run, as did Gue, who was 3-for-6, with a walk.

Braxton was 2-for-7, Bayne was just 1-for-6 but that one hit brought in both of the Herd’s runs in the fifth and she walked once, as did Valle (1-6), Webster (0-5), senior first baseman Alysia Hively (1-5) and freshman catcher Katalin Lucas (1-5).

The Herd celebrated as Marshall took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, only to see Virginia Tech tie the game in the sixth, then win it in the 13th, 3-2. (NCAA/Herd Insider)

Both teams left runners on base throughout the game, but it really starting building in the eighth when the Hokies had a runner on, then again in the bottom of the ninth.

In the top of the tenth, the Herd had the bases loaded with one out (on an error, intentional walk) but then a fielder’s choice by Katalin Lucas and strikeout by Bri Anna Hope ended the threat.

The Hokies drew a two-out walk in the tenth, but Williamson shut the door and became the all-time leader in strikeouts at Marshall with her 728th earlier in the inning, passing Sarah Gulla (727, 1998-2001).

In the 11th, the Herd left two runners on base, and then in the 12th, Tech left a runner on second.

Way back at 6:13 p.m., when the game started, the Hokies jumped out to a 1-0 lead, after the Herd left two runners on base in the top of the first innings.

Lauren Gaskill was hit by an Williamson pitch on the first offering of the game, then immediately stole second.

Third baseman Dani Anderson reached on an error by Marshall’s Hively, but Williamson settled down and sat the Hokies down with a line out, ground out and a strikeout.

In the fifth, the Herd rallied to take the lead when Greene reached on an infield single, and was bunted to second by Gue.

Alexandra Bayne slides into third against the Hokies, having driven in both Marshall runs against Virginia Tech and one more earlier in the 3-1 win over Notre Dame. (NCAA/Herd Insider)

Valle reached on a fielding error by Tech’s Anderson at third, then Bayne drove in those two runs with a single, giving her three RBI on the day, including the win over Notre Dame.

Greene and Gue scored and Marshall was up, 2-1.

Still, the Hokies were not done, as they tied the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Again, a Tech scoring inning started with a hit batsman, as sophomore second baseman Kylie McGoldrick took one for the team, then advanced to second on a sac bunt by Kat Banks.

Tech’s designated player, sophomore Logan Spaw, then singled to right, driving in McGoldrick and pulling in at second on a throwing error by right fielder Webster.

Williamson gave up a single to Rose, but pinch-runner Laura Wolff did not score — despite being waved in by the third base coach. Williamson ended the scoring with a ground out for the third out, and the teams headed to the seventh tied 2-2.

Jazmine Valle fields this ball clean at third, but the Herd's five errors - combined with a 1-for-18 night with runners in scoring position - led to the 3-2 loss to the Hokies in the 13th. (NCAA/Herd Insider)

In the top of the seventh, Valle drew a one-out walk, Braxton’s ground out moved Valle to second and Bayne fouled out to end the inning.

Tech got a one-out single from Anderson, but the Herd got two nice defensive plays by Hively, at first as Anderson moved to second, and by Bayne on a over the shoulder catch behind shortstop to send Marshall to extra-innings for the second day in a row at the NCAA Regionals.

That sent it to extras and then it really got interesting.

For Marshall, the 36 wins this year are the eighth time in 14 seasons under Stanton the Herd has won at least 30 games.

The Herd did win its first Conference USA title last week, qualified for its first NCAA Regional and won its first NCAA game earlier in the day with the 3-1 elimination of Notre Dame to set up the classic with Virginia Tech.

The 13 inning game is believed to be the longest in Marshall softball history, and was the second longest game ever for the ACC’s Hokies.

The Herd is now 4-8 all-time against Virginia Tech, but the teams had not met since the 2005 season.

The record for a longest game in NCAA Tournament history came in the 1984 College World Series, when Texas A&M beat Cal Poly Pomona 1-0 in a 25 inning softball game. 

 

 

Woody Woodrum is Publisher of Herd Insider, and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last modified on Saturday, 18 May 2013 23:48

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