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Herd wins 13th game in row

Mar. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University softball workhorse Andi Williamson pitched another complete game Saturday afternoon as the Thundering Herd topped the Memphis Tigers, 6-1, at Dot Hicks Field.

The win completed a three-game sweep of Memphis, extended the Herd's win streak to 13 games (including nine straight in Conference USA) and marked the 20th straight game Marshall has won at home dating back to last season.

"We have not lost at home since last April or March," coach Shonda Stanton said. "To have that at home and to win 13 in a row this year and be 9-0 in conference since dropping three to Tulsa, our girls are confident right now. They're gelling. Many different kids are stepping up, and we tell our kids every day to just do something to help the team win, whether it's drawing that fourth ball for a walk or helping on defense or picking up someone in the dugout and having a good dugout intact, and I think they're giving us what we need."

Williamson (22-11) gave up six hits, walked three and struck out seven in the complete game. She started all three games against Memphis, including Friday's doubleheader, where the first game went 13 innings.

"What she's doing is unbelievable, especially when you talk about pitching on a weekend and seeing the same hitters," Stanton said. "She saw some of those hitters five times in the first game Friday, and they still today weren't able to get what they wanted off of her.

"I'm sure if you ask her, she's completely frustrated because she gauges a lot of her work on the strikeouts. We know a healthy Andi pitching one game is going to get 10, 12, 15 Ks."

In the past four days, Williamson started a game against Wright State, then came in a second game against the Raiders to pick up a save, followed by her performance against Memphis.

And still, Saturday afternoon, Williamson's velocity was as strong in the seventh inning as it was in the first.

"You're talking a lot of innings in a four-day period and she's still performing incredibly," Stanton said.

"She's one of those once-in-a-lifetime players who comes through a program and she is just a joy to watch."

Run support wasn't an issue Saturday afternoon, as the Herd put up three runs in the bottom of the second inning off an RBI single from right-fielder Shaelynn Braxton, followed by a two-run home run from Alysia Hively.

Braxton would strike again in the bottom of the fourth, when her sister, Kristina was brought in as a pinch runner at first base.

The hit-and-run was on, and Shaelynn Braxton certainly got the hit part right, sending a shot over the fence that bounced off the scoreboard in left-center field.

"I guess that kind of burns a pinch runner, right?" Stanton said with a laugh. "Shae stepped up for us with that RBI single early and then that home run where she handled a high pitch very well. And then Hively, that was just a mistake with that flat change, and when you make a mistake on Hively, she's going to crush that ball."

Marshall (23-12, 9-3 C-USA) has a week off before a three-game series at Houston, beginning with a doubleheader Saturday, April 6.

Memphis left town 14-25 overall and 3-9 in C-USA.

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