February 9, 2018

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Game 1:
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Game 2: Boxscore          PDF

MONROE, La. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team closed out its season-opening tournament appearance with a split on Day Two of the Louisiana Monroe Mardi Gras Classic on Friday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (2-2) split its pair of contest for the second consecutive day with a 10-2 run-rule victory over Grambling State before falling in the tournament finale 5-2 against North Texas. UT Martin would score 12 runs on the day while posting a .327 batting average and a pair of home runs.

Junior Alli Fulcher ranked as the team’s top offensive threat, going 4-for-7 with a triple, a home run and four RBIs while slugging 1.286 in the doubleheader. Senior Jodie Duncan would rank second with three hits on the day while freshman Alexis Rogers, senior Aeron Smith and junior Gracyn McBride tallied multi-hit afternoons.

“We learned a lot from this weekend,” UT Martin head coach Donley Canary said. “We had several players step up and start the season strong while a bunch of newcomers were able to notch several collegiate firsts. Even though we didn’t win every game, our kids fought, played sound defensively and we found positives in the losses. It was a good start to the season and hopefully we will only build on this opening weekend.”

Game 1: UT Martin 10, Grambling State 2 (Six Innings)

UT Martin wasted little time jumping out in front on Friday afternoon, scoring three runs in the first inning. Freshman Paige Clark tallied her first collegiate hit before swiping second to move into scoring position. Clark would later come around to score the game’s first run on an error before McBride tallied her second home run in as many days to give the Skyhawks a 2-0 advantage. The squad would stay aggressive as Fulcher laced a triple down the left field line to push the margin up to three runs.

The Skyhawks would strike again for a huge inning in the top of the second. A leadoff double by Alicia Hansen got the inning started off on the right foot before a walk by Savannah Dodson and Veronica Pezzoni loaded the bases with no outs. With the bases juiced, Duncan would tally a two-run single to add to the margin. Another RBI by Fulcher would make it a six-run margin before Smith cleared the bases with a double down the left field line to tally three RBIs and make it a 9-0 contest.

Grambling State broke into the scoring column in the second and third innings, scoring one run each. Monique Smith put the Tigers on the board with a RBI single in the second before a RBI double by Allye Hartley capped off the team’s scoring in the third.

The Skyhawks would ultimately add on one more run in the top of the sixth inning to enact the run-rule off Fulcher’s third RBI of the contest to score Halie Fain.

Sophomore Samantha Scott (0-0) earned the start, allowing two earned runs in 2.1 innings of work. Sophomore Hannah Ridolfi would tally the first win over her Skyhawk career in relief, notching 3.2 innings of scoreless action out of the bullpen.

Game 2: North Texas 5, UT Martin 2

North Texas would get on the board first in the second contest of the afternoon, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. A leadoff single by Sally Gastelo began the inning, setting up Sam Rea for a two-run home run over the centerfield wall.

The Mean Green added to its margin in the third and fourth innings. In the third inning, it was a RBI single to center by Lacy Gregory to make it a three-run margin. North Texas continued to add upon the team’s lead with a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning by Hanna Rebar, making it a 4-0 contest.

UT Martin pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the fifth inning. Fulcher continued her strong tournament appearance with a solo home run to left field to start the frame. Smith followed the at-bat with a double to move into scoring position before being pulled for Clark as a pinch runner. Needing a big hit, Duncan would come through in the clutch with a single to right to make it a two-run margin.

North Texas would ultimately put it away with an insurance run in the fifth inning while extinguishing a potential scoring threat by UT Martin in the top of the seventh. Trailing by three runs, the Skyhawks would bring the potential game-tying run to the plate before later falling just short of a comeback attempt in a 5-2 setback.

Freshman Caitlin Karo (1-1) was held responsible for the loss after allowing five earned runs in five innings of work. Ridolfi would also appear in the contest, tallying a perfect sixth inning in relief.

UT Martin will return to action with a road matchup at Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State on Thursday, Feb. 15 before competing in the Black and Gold Tournament hosted by Alabama State, running from Friday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18.

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