Softball

Marshall’s Zerkle Named Conference USA Player of the Week

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IRVING, Texas – Senior shortstop Morgan Zerkle was named Conference USA Player of the Week for the second time this season, the league office announced Monday afternoon. “Zerkle had an incredible week,” Marshall Coach Shonda Stanton said. “She keeps showing the special caliber athlete she is by hitting the long ball, dropping the bunt single, taking the next 60 feet and coming up clutch to drive in game-winning runs.”

The Milton, W.Va., native hit .615 and slugged .923 over the Herd’s four wins at UNC Greensboro and a three-game sweep of WKU at home. Marshall continued its win streak to set a new Marshall program’s record 15 games, thanks in large part to the production of its senior shortstop. Zerkle began the week going 3-for-4 with two runs at UNCG in helping lead Marshall to a 13-3, five-inning win. She was the first to score in the game for Marshall in the first inning to help get the offense in gear.

Back at Dot Hicks Field against WKU, Zerkle finished the weekend with five clutch hits that culminated in a 3-for-3 performance with the go-ahead three-RBI double in the final game. In game two on Saturday, Zerkle hit a sac fly to left that drove in the first run for Marshall as the Herd was trailing 2-0. In the bottom of the fifth, she led off with a single and later scored that helped get a three-run inning going for the Herd to take the lead. In the sixth, Zerkle reached on an error and scored as Marshall added five more insurance runs.

MUSB 2017 Morgan Zerkle

Morgan Zerkle wins her second Conference USA Hitter of the Week thanks to a big weekend while the Herd swept WKU. (HI file photo)

In the Sunday series finale, Zerkle reached base every time she stepped to the plate. She got Marshall on the board first with a solo home run to lead off the third. In the fifth, Zerkle led off with a walk and later scored on a sac fly to tie the game at 3-3 just before a 45-minute rain delay. In the sixth, Zerkle stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered with a double to center that drove in all three runs, broke the tie, and helped Marshall to its 15th straight win.

Zerkle is batting .462 for the season with 43 hits and 31 runs scored. Of her 43 hits, 13 have gone for extra bases with six doubles, four home runs, and three triples. The senior is second on the team with 29 stolen bases.

The Thundering Herd will step back on the field Tuesday, March 28, at home for a single game with Morehead State (18-9) of the Ohio Valley Conference. Marshall leads in the “I-64 War” 22 wins to eight for the Eagles of MSU, and first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Marshall will get back into Conference USA play on April 1-2 at Southern Miss (16-15, 3-6 in C-USA). The Eagles who leads the series with the Herd, 13-12, but the Herd swept all three games last year.

The Herd will return to “The Dot” on April 5th for a first time meeting with and a doubleheader against Wright State (6-15) of the Horizon League at 2 p.m. in a series Marshall leads 14-6. That doubleheader is followed by another double-dip, this time against with C-USA’s Florida Atlantic (22-11, 5-1 in C-USA) on April 8, starting at 1 p.m., and a single game at noon with the Owls on April 9.

About Woody Woodrum

Senior Editor and columnist/writer for Herd Insider since 2003, with Kindred Communications on radio for Marshall football/men's basketball pregame and postgame shows since 1996 and with First Sentry Bank Sportsline (Also Scott on Sports, Sideline Sports and Herd Insider Sportsline) since 1997. Married to Liz (12-22-1990) and one son, Tre' (11-7-1997). National Sportswriters & Sportscasters West Virginia Broadcaster of the Year winner for radio, 2000; won W.Va. Broadcasters Best Talk Show in 2013 with co-host Paul Swann and W.Va. Broadcasters Best Play-by-Play in 2015 with Jason Toy (Huntington at South Charleston, state AAA semifinals). Member of (College) Football Writers Association of America, (College) Basketball Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Color commentator for Marshall football (1999-2000), for Marshall basketball (2004-2016) and Marshall baseball (2004-2016). Color for high school football at Spring Valley (1999-2008), Cabell Midland (2009-2012) and Huntington (W.Va.) High School (2013-2016).

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