#35 Marshall Softball 2018 Preview

Marshall Thundering Herd
Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA Marshall Logo
Marshall begins a new era in Huntington as longtime head coach Shonda Stanton resigned after taking the Thundering Herd to the NCAA Tournament. She took the head coaching job at Indiana and Jen Steele takes over Marshall after leaving Jacksonville after three seasons. Steele did a very nice job of elevating the Dolphins program across the board as she led Jacksonville to a 30 win season in 2017. The standard set by Stanton will not be easy to live up to for Steele as Stanton won 560 games in 18 years, but the good news is this Marshall team sets up nicely for a return to the NCAA Tournament.
2017: 42-12, 20-4
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jen Steele
Key Departed Players:
Morgan Zerkle, UTIL, .476 BA, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 39 SB
Shaelynn Braxton, IF, .295 BA, 8 HR, 31 RBI
Jordan Dixon, P, 280.2 IP, 1.87 ERA, 77 BB, 294 SO
Key Returning Players:
Elicia D’Orazo, IF, .397 BA, 0 HR, 21 RBI, 59 SB
Taylor McCord, C, .349 BA, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 19 SB
Eloise Tribolet, OF, .288 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 13 SB
Brianna Daiss, IF, .248 BA, 5 HR, 27 RBI
Jordan Colliflower, OF, .273 BA, 0 HR, 7 RBI
Ali Burdette, P/UTIL, 46.0 IP, 3.65 ERA, 21 BB, 26 SO
Kailee Williamson, P, 37.2 IP, 4.09 ERA, 17 BB, 23 SO
A good competitive schedule awaits for the Thundering Herd as they will play the likes of Auburn, Tennessee, USC Upstate, Missouri, South Carolina, and James Madison. Thus, there will be plenty of opportunities to pick up NCAA Tournament resume building wins outside of conference play. Morgan Zerkle’s production is going to be a challenge to replace. Zerkle was absolutely dominant as she hit .476 with nine homeruns and stole 39 bases. Taylor McCord is the top returning power hitter for Marshall in 2018 as McCord hit 12 homeruns while driving in 52 last season. In addition, McCord brings a speed element to the table after stealing 19 bases last season. Elicia D’Orazo is an outstanding contact hitter as she hit just a tick under .400 in 2017 while stealing 59 bases in 68 attempts. In the circle, there is going to be another challenge for Coach Steele in year one as she has to replace Jordan Dixon, who was the workhorse of the staff in 2017. Dixon went 32-10 with a 1.87 earned run average and had an innate ability to take over a game with her ability to rack up strikeouts. She had 294 last season. Ali Burdette and Kailee Williamson are back in 2018 and they will battle it out to see who takes over as the ace of the staff in 2018. In the end, there will be a bit of transition early on in the season for the Thundering Herd but by season’s end they should be in the conversation for the Conference USA Title and an NCAA Tournament berth.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament