IRVING, Texas – Sophomore Rachel Rousseau, after an incredible weekend filled with highlights in her return to lineup against the WKU Lady Toppers, was named Conference USA Co-Player of the Week on Monday, the league office announced.
Rousseau had missed the previous 30 games of the season, due to a broken hand suffered during the 2018-19 opening weekend in San Diego (Feb. 8-10). She returned with a bang, hitting a grand slam in the game one win and the walk-off solo homer in the game three, series-clinching victory.
“We knew when Rachel came back from her injury that she would strengthen our offense,” Herd head coach Megan Smith said. “What she did this weekend proved that she is going to make a huge impact on our success moving forward this season.”
The Morgantown, W.Va., native bat .444 (4-of-9) during the series, slugged 1.111 and had a .500 on base percentage. The home runs were the first two of her career. The left fielder also recorded six putouts and threw out a runner at third in game three.
Rousseau continued to come through in the clutch, much in the same manner as during limited opportunities in the lineup her freshman season.
In the first game, Rousseau dropped down a sacrifice bunt that helped move a runner into scoring position that later crossed the plate to give Marshall a 2-0 lead in the fifth. She had another opportunity at the plate in the sixth with one out, the bases loaded, and the Herd leading by one (3-2) over WKU who came in to the weekend 9-0 in conference play. The sophomore right-hander smashed a screamer over the fence in left for the grand slam that put Marshall up by five, 7-2. The Herd eventually finished off the game in the sixth for the 10-2 win.
She reached base once in game two with a walk but bounced back in the rubber match on Sunday.
Rousseau got things rolling with a base hit to center that scored a run for Marshall and gave the Herd a one-run lead at 4-3. She had her second hit of the game in the sixth to keep the inning going after Marshall regained the lead, 7-6, following a three-run homer from junior Blakely Burch. WKU tied the game at 7-7 in the top of the seventh and then retired the side for the Herd in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
Marshall got through the top of the eighth with just one runner getting on base and the score still tied. Rousseau led off the inning and was the only batter to come to the plate for the Herd. After hitting a long foul ball on the second pitch, Rousseau worked the count to full. Two hours and 47 minutes after the first pitch was thrown, the 328th and final pitch was delivered as Rousseau sent a towering shot to left-center for the win.
It was the second career walk-off hit for Rousseau as she came through on Senior Day, May 6, 2018 against Middle Tennessee. It was the regular season finale and the then freshman came in for a pinch hit in the seventh with Marshall trailing 2-1. Rousseau hit a two-run double that gave the Herd the doubleheader sweep.
The Thundering Herd returns to the field Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, at the FIU Panthers in Miami. The Saturday doubleheader begins at 4 p.m.