Quarterfinal action of the 2017 Conference USA Championship kicked off Thursday with Marshall's Jordan Dixon, the C-USA Pitcher of the Year, tossing the second no-hitter in the championship's history en route to a 2-0 win over (8) WKU. As the No. 1 overall seed, Marshall will advance to the semifinals against the winner of the upcoming (2) FIU/(3) Louisiana Tech contest. With the double-elimination format now in effect, WKU will wait to play the loser between the Panthers and Lady Techsters. Dixon allowed just two baserunners on the day and neither got farther than second base. Of her 109 pitches, 69 were thrown for strikes. Morgan Zerkle, the C-USA Player of the Year, gave Dixon some help at the plate, belting a solo home run to center in the bottom of the third.
With one out in the seventh, WKU's Jordan Mauch smashed a line shot to right, but Marshall's Jordan Colliflower made a spectacular diving catch to preserve the no-hitter. Dixon induced a lineout back to the circle for the final out of the game. Her no-hitter was only the second in C-USA Championship history, the first since Miranda Kramer's gem for WKU in 2015.
WKU's duo of Kathryn Downing and Kelsey Aikey pitched admirably, limiting the dangerous Herd offense to just two runs on six hits, each tossing three innings.
(2) FIU concluded Thursday's Conference USA Softball Championship action with a convincing 7-1 victory over (3) Louisiana Tech. Freshman of the Year, Shannon Saile held the Lady Techsters at bay, giving up just one run in the complete-game victory. The Panthers advance to the semifinals and will square off with the overall No. 1 seed Marshall Thundering Herd tomorrow at 10 a.m. CT. Louisiana Tech will play (8) WKU in a win-or-go-home contest tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CT. With inclement weather in the forecast all game times are subject to change.
FIU's Stephanie Texeira led off the game with a two-run home run in the first, displaying the Panthers' tendency for quick starts this season. In 2017, FIU has scored 56 runs in 56 first innings and are 23-1 when scoring in the first frame. The victory marked the 44th win for the Panthers this season, tying the school record for wins in a single season.
Louisiana Tech's Marilyn Rizzato, recently named to the All-C-USA Second Team, provided the lone RBI for the Lady Techsters with a single in the top of the fifth.