Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Marshall softball ends the weekend on a high note with a 6-1 victory over the Saint Louis Billikens (4-6). The Herd improve to 6-1 for the year.

Junior pitcher Jordan Dixon (Edmond, Okla.) once again was dominant in the circle using an early cushion and cruised through the Saint Louis batters bringing a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

“Jordan Dixon was absolutely outstanding,” Herd Coach Shonda Stanton said. “She had 10 K’s and the no-hitter going into the sixth. She gave up the solo shot but can’t be any more pleased with the job she is doing for us so early. Our defense was outstanding behind her as well.”

The 10 strikeouts was the 15th game of Dixon’s career in double digits.

The Herd offense once again came out swinging scoring four runs off of three hits and stole five bases in the top of the first. Senior Kaelynn Greene (Eastvale, Calif.) got the Herd going with a one-out walk and then advanced to second on an infield single by sophomore Elicia D’Orazio (Clermont, Fla.). With speed on the bases Head Coach Shonda Stanton went for the double steal as Greene and D’Orazio both moved up 60 feet. For Greene it was her fifth stolen base of the season and 95th of her career.

Next the Herd took advantage of a dropped strike three as Greene scored while the Billikens catcher threw down to first to try and get freshman Briana Daiss (Clermont, Fla.). Daiss was safe on the play as the first baseman pulled her foot off the bag to try and throw home to get the speedy Greene. Freshman Abigail Estrada (Torrance, Calif.) came in to pinch run for Daiss at first and immediately stole second to put two runners in scoring position for the Herd.

Sophomore catcher Taylor McCord (Gilbert, Ariz.) stepped up and delivered a two RBI single into left scoring both D’Orazio and Estrada. Opting once again for speed on the bases, Coach Stanton inserted freshman Summer Collins (Logan, W.Va.) at first to run for McCord. Collins stole second and third and then scored on an errant throw by the catcher.

Freshman Samantha Loose (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) delivered in her offensive opportunities with her first career double in the first inning and another base hit in her second plate appearance. She finished 2-3.

From there Dixon had her command allowing a total of six base runners for Saint Louis but not letting a Billiken to make it past second base through the first five innings. Saint Louis gained its first hit and first run in the sixth inning from a leadoff home run by center fielder Mackenzie Peter. Only one more Billiken would reach base after the home run.

The defense continued to make play after play from the start. On just the second batter in the bottom of the first, Zerkle made a fantastic catch in the deepest part of the field catching a fly ball while crashing into the fence. The grab took away a sure fire extra base hit.

“When your pitcher and the defense are playing that well I would have liked to have seen our offense settle in a little more,” Coach Stanton said. “We got out to the four run lead and had a chance to really put that game away. But overall I am very pleased with this group the way they played through a long weekend.”

The Marshall offense was shut down until the top of the seventh. Zerkle cranked a bomb to dead-away center field for her first home run of the season, over the head of Peter who had just hit the solo shot for Saint Louis. D’Orazio reached first after her third hit of the game and later scored taking advantage of an errant throw by the third baseman.

Elicia D’Orazio was named the Dot Hicks Significance Sticker Award winner for her outstanding on defense and going 3-4 at the plate scoring two runs and one stolen base. She finished with three put outs and one assist on defense. The assist came on a would-be base hit up the middle that the sophomore fielded behind second base and made the throw to Daiss at first.

In the third inning D’Orazio made a spectacular catch and tag at second on a stolen base attempt. The throw was a little up the line and D’Orazio made the catch on the run and put the tag on the helmet of the Saint Louis runner in mid-dive for the base. Her final highlight was a game ending catch in left field foul territory from a pop fly while crashing into the fence.