Herd continues season at National Invitational Softball Championships

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LYNCHBURG, Va. The Marshall softball team continues its 2019 season on Thursday in the first round of the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC). The Herd is one of 19 teams in the postseason tournament and will play at the regional hosted by the Liberty Flames.

Marshall’s first opponent in the double elimination tournament will be the George Washington Colonials. The Thundering Herd enters with a 39-20 overall record and the Colonials come in at 42-16. If Marshall wins, the Herd moves on to play Kent State at 7 p.m. on Thursday. If Marshall loses then the Herd will move to the bottom bracket and play at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Ticket information can be found through Liberty’s website. Fans who cannot attend will be able to tune in to ESPN+ for the video streams as well as 88.1 WMUL-FM with audio streamed online at www.marshall.edu/wmul through one of the Listen Live links. Scott Hall will have the call on WMUL. Visit the Tournament Central Page for all video and live stat links.

Teams in the Lynchburg Regional
Host Liberty Flames (37-20 and 16-5 in the Atlantic Sun): Marshall and Liberty have met 17 times and the Herd leads 12-5. The Flames won the last two contests at the Carolina Classic hosted by South Carolina in 2018. Aly Harrell hit her first career home run in the second game.

Kent State Golden Flashes (27-24 and 11-5 in the MAC): Marshall and Kent State have met 34 times and the Herd leads 21-13. Marshall won the most recent matchup, 10-4, on Feb. 28, 2018 at Dot Hicks Field.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (28-24 and 11-12 in the Big 10): Marshall and Rutgers have met just once on March 28, 1999, an 11-10 Herd loss.

George Washington Colonials (42-16 and 15-7 in the Atlantic 10): Marshall and George Washington have met just twice and the Herd has won both including a 2-0 victory on March 2, 2018 in South Carolina. The win was Abigail Tolbert’s third consecutive, complete-game shutout. First year head coach Shane Winkler of the Colonials was an assistant with the Marshall softball team under Shonda Stanton from 2005-08.

Appalachian State Mountaineers (31-23 and 13-13 in the Sun Belt): Marshall and Appalachian State have met seven times and the Herd leads 5-2. The Mountaineers won the most recent meeting, 2-1, back on Feb. 24 of this season at the Holy City Showdown hosted at College of Charleston.

Last Time Out: Marshall Fights its way to C-USA Championship, loses in title game
Marshall showed that it belonged in the 2019 Conference USA Tournament, battling into the championship before ultimately falling. The Herd was predicted to finish eighth in the preseason polls (only eight teams go to the tournament), got in as the No. 4 seed and made it to the programs fifth C-USA Championship game. Marshall began by eliminating UTSA with an 8-0 win. Junior Blakely Burch drove in four runs and sophomore Katie Adams ended the game in the fifth with a base hit up the middle that scored sophomore Rachel Rousseau.

The Herd then defeated the top overall seed North Texas in the beginning of double elimination play on Thursday with a 1-0 win. An RBI double from freshman Mya Stevenson was all the run support that senior pitcher Abigail Tolbert and the defense needed for the victory. Tolbert tossed eighth strikeouts in earning her fourth-straight shutout and the Mean Green stranded 12 runners on base.

Marshall then fell to the bottom bracket in a 5-4 loss to No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech on Friday. Stevenson hit her first homer of the tournament in the seventh to cut the deficit to one. The Herd then returned to the field later that day to take on North Texas for a second time, and again came away with a 1-0 win. Tolbert pitched another shutout and this time sophomore Aly Harrell provided the run with a solo homer. The win put Marshall into the championship game with a rematch against Louisiana Tech.

The Herd fought until the end but the Lady Techsters hung on for the 3-1 title game victory. Stevenson hit her team-record tying 18th home run of the season in the third to get Marshall on the board. Tolbert, Harrell and Stevenson were all named to the Conference USA All-Tournament team.

Team 26 Takes on the Record Book
The 2019 Marshall softball team, in head coach Megan Smith’s first year at the helm, has made an assault on the team record book. Most everyone knows about the smashing of the team home run record, now at 75, but did you know about the other records:
Highest Slugging Percentage - .494 (old record of .465 set in 2008
Most Runs Scored - 327 (old record of 282 set in 2014)
Most RBI - 300 (old record of 244 set in 2014)
Tied for Most Triples - 13 (record set in 2017)
Most Total Bases - 733 (old record of 669 set in 2008)
Most Walks - 210 (old record of 166 set in 2007)
Most Hit by Pitches - 72 (old record of 51 set in 2010)
Tied for Most Shutouts - 15 (record set in 1996)
Third Most Wins - 39 (record of 42 set in 2017)
Second Best OB Percentage - .389 (record of .407 set in 2017)
Third Most Games Played - 59 (record of 62 set in 1996)
Fourth Best Fielding Percentage - .962 (record of .966 set in 2003)
Fourth Most Doubles - 72 (record of 80 set in 2005)
Tied for Fourth Fewest Losses - 20 (record of 12 set in 2017)
Tied for Fourth Fewest Errors - 61 (record of 58 set in 2002)
Tied Single Game Record for Home Runs - 5 vs. Presbyterian (record set in 2014 at Northern Kentucky)
Two of the Top-10 Errorless Streaks of All-Time - 29 (tied for 4th) and 28 (tied for 6th)

Plus on the individual side:
Stevenson freshman record & tied for most in a season HRs - 18 (record set by Rachel Folden in 2006)
Harrell most walks in a season - 63 (old record of 51 set by Rachel Folden in 2007)
Burch most triples in a season - 7 (old record of 6 set by Morgan Zerkle in 2017)
Huerta most HBPs in a season - 29 (old record of 16 set by Marcena Bertoldo in 2007)
Harrell best OB percentage - .567 (old record of .562 set by Rachel Folden in 2008)
Harrell most putouts in a season - 420 (old record of 414 set by Carrie Michaelis in 1996)