March 5, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University softball team opened Conference USA play with a split of its doubleheader against Marshall on Wednesday night.
As they had on Tuesday night vs. Michigan State, the Owls (13-9, 1-1 C-USA) fell into a deficit early on in the first game. Marshall (5-12, 1-1) scored four runs in the first inning on four hits and a FAU error. The Owls loaded the bases with just one out in the second inning when Mickey Bell drove in Melissa Martinez with a single to left and Shelby Knox scored on a Kathryn Spack walk. A fielder's choice and a groundout kept FAU to just two runs in the frame.
Marshall scored a run in the third to make the score 5-2, which is where it stayed until the bottom of the fifth. In that inning, Knox doubled in Lindsey Shell and Melissa Martinez scored on a Carnesha Thompson single. Thompson later scored when Spack was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at 5. The Thundering Herd answered back with three runs of its own in the sixth to take an 8-5 lead. FAU had runners reach in both the 6th and 7th inning, but couldn't score.
Game 2 was a more defensive oriented game, with Marshall managing the only hit of the game through the first three innings. FAU broke the stalemate in the bottom of the fourth inning. Shelby Knox hit her first career homerun over the wall in left center to give the Owls a 2-0 lead. Mickey Bell reached on a Marshall error and came around to score on a Spack blooper down the right field line. A Marshall error also accounted for the game's final run, allowing Sarah Howell to score from second on a Spack sacrifice bunt.
Samantha Messer threw her third shutout of the season and struck out a career high 10 batters for her sixth win of the year. FAU and Marshall will play the rubber match of the series at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Game time has been moved up in anticipation of inclement weather. Live stats will be available at fausports.com. Fans can also follow the game at twitter.com/fauowlssoftball.