DENTON, Texas — Marshall got a miracle rally on Thursday night to advance to Friday’s Conference USA Tournament matchup against Western Kentucky.
The Herd could not find that same magic on Friday, however.
Marshall faced an early eight-run deficit, but a rally attempt fell short on Friday as the Hilltoppers earned a 9-5 win over the Thundering Herd at Lovelace Stadium in Denton, Texas.
Trailing 8-0 early, Marshall got back within 8-5 in the top of the sixth inning after Grace Chelemen legged out an infield single, which kept the bases loaded with the tying run on base.
Western Kentucky’s Shelby Nunn was able to get Marshall’s Saige Pye to fly out to right field to end the threat, which was the Herd’s last real chance to get back into it.
Chelemen was the catalyst for Marshall’s offense on Friday, finishing 3-for-4 while producing good contact with each at-bat.
Marshall trailed 8-0 after WKU got to Herd starter and C-USA Pitcher of the Year Sydney Nester, but Chelemen’s home run to right field jumpstarted the bats to help the Herd get back into it.
Chelemen’s lone plate appearance not reaching base was one of the game’s pivotal moments as she smoked a line drive back up the middle. However, WKU pitcher Shelby Nunn snagged the liner back at her and flipped to first for a double play, which negated a potential two-on, no-out situation with the Herd trailing 8-3 in the fifth and the meat of the order coming up.
Nester struggled in the circle for Marshall on Friday, lasting just 1.1 innings while giving up eight runs — all earned — on six hits and two walks. She gave way to Briana McCown in the second.
McCown put together one of her most impressive outings with the Herd, going 4.2 innings while allowing just three hits and an unearned run while striking out six to keep Marshall in it.
Friday’s game came after a wild Thursday in which Marshall rallied back for a 10-9 walk-off win over Charlotte to keep its season alive.
Marshall trailed 9-8 going to the final frame, but Mya Stevenson set the program’s all-time record with the 59th home run of her career — a solo shot — to tie it before Hurricane native Katie Adams later singled home the game-winner.
Earlier in the day on Thursday, Marshall had dropped a 16-8 decision to Louisiana Tech that forced the Herd into the loser’s bracket.
With the loss, Marshall’s season ends at 35-18 overall. That figure included a 20-1 mark at home.