Williamson Powers Herd to Two Victories over Houston

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

HUNTINGTON, WV – The top pitcher in Conference USA, Andi Williamson was dominant in the circle and the Thundering Herd provided just enough offense to capture two wins against Houston in action Saturday at Dot Hicks Field.

Williamson (8-5) struck out 20 Cougar batters, 10 in each game, and MU won 5-2 in game one and 1-0 in the second game of the day to improve to 12-9 and 2-0 in C-USA.

“Outstanding performance by Andi in the circle with 20 K’s on the day against a very sold hitting team, one of the better clubs in C-USA, which have a number of players that can go yard,” said head coach Shonda Stanton following the day’s action. “I was really impressed with what she was able to do from circle.”

Game One

In the first C-USA game for both squads, a back and forth game went the Herd’s way thanks to a three run fifth inning resulting in a 5-2 win for Marshall.

Houston (10-13, 0-2 C-USA) though got things started as they got on the board in the first with one run but Marshall responded in the second as Victoria Marvin came to the dish to pinch hit and delivered with a first pitch double to center field that plated two of her teammates for 2-1 lead.

The closely contested conference match-up saw the Cougars notch the game at two apiece when C-USA preseason player of the year pick Melissa Gregson smacked her first home run of the season to right field in the top of the fourth.

MU’s big inning was in bottom of the fifth as the Herd took a three run lead. Rebecca Gamby gave her squad a one run lead with a RBI ground out scoring Ashley Gue. Following an Alyisa Hively walk, Jazmine Valle hit a towering shot to left center that looked like it was caught but a fortuitist bounce off of Gregson’s glove put the ball over the fence and the game at 5-2 in favor of the Herd.

“Jaz already has already had a home run bounce off the top of the fence and over and now she gets one that bounces off a glove and over. You just get that feeling that we have working and preparing hard and the ball is bouncing our way,” said Stanton.

Valle was one of seven players to get a hit for the Herd. The junior and California native finished the game 1-for-3 with two runs batted in while scoring once.

Williamson continued her dominate pitching performance by shutting down Houston in the final two innings to pick up her seventh win of the season.

Diedre Outon (3-3) suffered the loss for Houston by allowing three hits and three runs in four innings of relief.

Game Two

Defense plus the continuing outstanding performance from Williamson guided the Herd to a 1-0 victory in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Houston starting pitcher Ty’Ara Law (1-2) and Williamson put on a pitching performance in game two. Each surrendered only three hits and combined to only walk two batters and strike out 15 batters.
Law though would be the pitcher to allow a run to cross the plate when an Alianna Telles double right off the left field foul line pushed Ashley Gue over home plate resulting in the only run to be scored in the second contest.

Williamson, along with her defense was outstanding. While allowing only one hit, the Herd defense did not commit an error in the contest. Like game one, the West Virginia native fanned 10 Houston batters, but in game two she got the opposing batter caught looking six times.

Houston had little chances in the game with only three runners reaching base and only one of those advancing past first base. Houston looked to push a run across in the second when two Cougar runners reached but Williamson recorded one of her six strike outs looking to end the UH threat.

“In game two, you aren’t able to win a one run ball game unless you play good defense behind your pitching, and we definitely had both of those phases very strong,” said Stanton.

“In the third phase offensively I wish I could have seen us broken the game open, but im glad to see we can win the one run ballgame.”

Williamson improved to 8-5 on the season and lowered her earned run average to 1.83. After a day where she had fanned 20 batters, the junior has now collected 91strke outs this season. This follows her sophomore year when she had 99 total strike outs on the season.

Melissa Loesing collected two hits to lead her squad in game two at the dish.

“I’m pleased with people making the most of their opportunities and Marvin does so by coming up and laces a double (in game one) to help break the game open. LoLo also did a good job of making the most out of her chances,” Stanton concluded.

Game three between the Herd and the Cougars takes place Sunday at 11 AM. GameTracker plus live streaming through Herd All-Access will be available for the contest. Updates will also be provided through the @Herd_Zone twitter account.
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