March 4, 2018

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OXFORD, Miss. –
The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team made a strong push down the stretch, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to force extra innings before ultimately falling short 5-3 to Saint Louis in a nine-inning showdown.

The Skyhawks (7-11) outhit the Billikens on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the Ole Miss Classic by a 9-8 tally but a costly error in the top of the ninth allowed the game’s final two runs to score – proving to be the difference in the contest.

Junior Alli Fulcher and senior Alicia Hansen paced the Skyhawks with two hits on the day while senior Jodie Duncan did the bulk of the damage, notching two RBIs. Hansen also drove in a run in the sixth inning, tying the game at 3-3.

Hannah Ridolfi (4-5, 2.11 ERA) was hit with the loss after striking out four and allowing three earned runs in nine innings of work.

Saint Louis (6-8) struck first in the contest, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Alyssa Chavez got the scoring started with a solo home run to left field on the first pitch she saw on the day. Later in the inning, the Billikens added another run as Maria Connell singled to left field to score Alyssa Tarquinio and take a 2-0 advantage.

The Billikens would add another run in the top of the fourth to make it a three-run advantage. Chavez notched her second hit of the game – this time a double – to lead off the inning before later coming home to score on a sacrifice fly by Kaylyn Breitbach.

With little time left to scratch back, UT Martin rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Fulcher would lead off the inning with a double into the opposite field gap before advancing to third on a single up the middle by Aalia Bivens. Pinch runner Paige Clark would enter the contest for Bivens and quickly moved into scoring position by swiping second base to put a pair of runners in scoring positions. With runners on second and third with no outs, Duncan laced a single up the middle to score the pair and cut into the margin. The bases would later become loaded with one out as Hansen dropped a perfectly placed bunt single to tie the game and score Alexis Rogers to make it a 3-3 contest.

Neither team would capitalize on the international tie-breaker scenario in the eighth inning but Saint Louis would manage to push a pair of runs across in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, Chappelle would be credited with a RBI while two runs scored as a fielding error plagued the Skyhawk defense and ultimately decided the contest.

UT Martin will now look to regroup as the squad will hit the road for its final road tournament of the season during Spring Break, taking on Bethune-Cookman on Thursday, March 8 before participating in the Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Fla. over the weekend.

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