Success Saturates MU Softball

Updated 6 years ago by Ed McCarnes
MU Softball (Photo by Chris Spencer)
MU Softball (Photo by Chris Spencer)

Search for a quick sum of Marshall’s 2012 season and improved jets into the mind.  Break the game into its three phases and very, much and some reign as appropriate additional explanations. A 36 - 21 final W - L included marks of 16 - 8 at home, 12 - 6 on opponent’s fields and 8 - 7 at neutral venues.  Combining season and tournament play Marshall finished 17 - 10 against C-USA teams.

One run games illustrate the Herd’s competitiveness.  A stunning 35% of the 57 games played ended in 1 run decisions.  Marshall finished 10 - 10 against its schedule and 8 - 7 inside C-USA. Winning streaks were a major factor in team strength.  The positive consecutives included four, two twice, three thrice, five, six.  Marshall dropped three straight twice.  The Herd thundered at 26 - 12,  .684 pace after a 10 - 9 start.  Marshall won five of eight C-USA series.

Peel back the overview to reveal the games catch-throw-hit phases and the causes for success are clarified.  So are shortcomings of concern.

Catch the ball-defense:  very improved.  The .963 mark, one of the program’s best, beats Coach Stanton’s .950 criterion.  But the number placesonly fifth in this year’s conference team rankings.Marshall ranked third in double plays, fourth in errors committed and eighth in stolen bases allowed.  The Herd was third in passed balls and first in catcher’s interference. 

Throw the ball-pitching:  some improvement.  Stanton’s intra circle platoon led the conference in ERA and strikeouts.  Runner up ranks included opponent batting average, saves, home runs allowed and runners picked off. Fourth place finishes came in doubles and triples allowed and fifth in walks allowed.

Hit the ball-offense:  some improvement.  The Herd finished third in stolen bases and hit batters, fifth in home runs, sixth in doubles and strike outs. Seventh place logs came in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, RBIs and total bases.  Marshall finished eighth in walks. Situational hitting showed improvement.  In previous years that had been a consistent problem.  Over the spring improvement moved to the inconsistent level.

Media reports of C-USA tournament play provide example. Versus East Carolina, MU left five runners in scoring position and finished with 6 hits in 18 at bats.  Against UAB the numbers were 9 left on and 4 for 18 hitting.  The season finale with Tulsa showed five left and 1 for 12 bat success.

Behind team numbers are individual accomplishment. Rebecca Gamby finished sixth in caught stealing and third in defensive chances.  Alysia Hively placed fifth is putouts. Observed at home games were spectacular individual defensive play efforts by Jasmine Valle, Alianna Telles, Melissa Loesing, Samantha Spurlock and Jessica Hughes.

A reported off season emphasis on defense produced major execution upgrades.  Defense could be tabbed as factors in six late season wins. Over the season Andi Williamson elevated her game and stepped inside the circle of conference pitching elite.

Final season ranks include first in strikeouts, second in opponent batting average and third in ERA.  Over the conference year Williamson fielded 38 chances flawlessly.  Unfortunately, Williamson’s intra circle mates did not follow her lead. Natalee Pulver’s C-USA opponent batting average registered 8th best.

But the ERA and a losing conference record were a disappointing follow up to a promising plebe campaign.

High opponent batting averages may have reduced conference innings for Erika Bennett and Jessica Ferrick.

And, finally, there was the hitting or lack of. Valle finished ninth in RBIs, tenth in slugging percentage and fifth in home runs.  Telles placed fifth in hits. Loesing finished tied for first in sacrefice bunts. Runner up rank went to Gamby in hit by pitch and Ashley Gue in stolen bases.  Taylor Thompson finished fourth in pilfered pillows. Other than that MU was leader board void.

The confeence tournament provides example of the ecstasy  and agony that was the Marshall offense. In the quarterfinals the Herd pounded out 13 hits.  In the semis the numbers were seven in ten innings.  Hits remained status in the championship.  But the four, five and six batting slots compiled an 0-for-9 composite.

So where is this program?  The momentum is positive. Eight juniors return to assume the leadership roles of the seven departed seniors.  Experience returns at first, second, third, in center, and with pitchers. Stanton must fill voids at catcher and both corner outfield positions. Catcher Taylor Winton’s emergence to expectations is vital.  Incoming recruits are highly regarded.  A definitive fall ball season is crucial for continued immediate success.

 

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