SKYHAWK SOFTBALL USES LATE GAME HEROICS TO SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER
February 8, 2014
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Game 1: Boxscore PDF Game 2: Boxscore PDF
RUSTON, La. – A pair of late game rallies nearly clinched the University of Tennessee at Martin softball a pair of doubleheader victories as the Skyhawks knocked off Houston Baptist, 4-2, before falling to Wichita State, 8-7, in day two of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techster Invitational.
The Skyhawks (1-2) received yet another dominating performance from junior All-OVC performer Lauren Smith. Smith tallied a pair of home runs, one proving to be a game-winner over Houston Baptist while the second gave the Skyhawks the momentary lead going into the seventh inning against Wichita State. Smith went 3-for-5 on the day while tallying four RBIs to go with her two home runs and pair of walks.
Senior Kayla Wade also joined in the offensive action, tallying her fourth career home run. Wade went 5-for-8 while tallying two steals. Freshman Taylor Manning went 4-for-9 on the day, tallying three RBIs on the afternoon. Deven Wilson, Kenzi Tate and Renate Meckl each tallied one RBI each to cap the Skyhawk offense.
Game One: UT Martin 4, Houston Baptist 2
UT Martin tallied the game’s first run in the top of the third inning. After Houston Baptist retired the first two Skyhawk batters, Wade pulled her first home run of the season over the right field wall.
Houston Baptist would respond in the bottom half of the inning by adding a pair of runs of its own to overtake the lead. After a pair of baserunners reached safely following a walk and a single up the middle, the Huskies tallied their first run on a fielder’s choice by Melissa Herman. The Huskies were not done, as each baserunner would move up a base via a wild pitch, scoring the go-ahead run.
Trailing by one, the Skyhawks tallied the game’s equalizer in the top of the sixth inning. Tate followed a single to left field by Manning with a double of her own to left. With runners on second and third, Meckl tallied a two-out single to the pitcher to tie the game at two.
The Skyhawks opened the top of the seventh with a bang as Smith tallied her first home run of the day over the left field wall to score the eventual game-winning run. After reaching on an error, Dixon would come around to score off a double to right center by Manning. Smith and Dixon’s runs proved to be enough as the Skyhawks picked up the 4-2 victory.
Tate (1-0) was credited with the victory in the circle, allowing just three hits in seven innings of work. Her complete game ranked as the first of the season for the Skyhawks. She finished with 10 strikeouts while allowing just two earned runs.
Wade and Manning led the way in the ballgame with two hits and an RBI each. Meckl and Smith each tallied an RBI in the game while Smith and Wade hit the lone home runs in the game.
Game Two: Wichita State 8, UT Martin 7
Wichita State wasted little time getting on the board in the top of the first inning. Following a fielding error and a pair of singles, the Shockers tallied their first run of the game. The Shockers would not be done however as Cacy Williams blasted a three-run home run to left field on the ensuing at bat.
UT Martin would respond in the bottom of the second. After McClure was hit by a pitch, Wade singled the junior to third base. Insert Manning who brought the duo home with a single up the middle to score both McClure and Wade. With the pair of runs, the Skyhawks cut the Shockers margin in half, trailing 4-2 after two innings of work.
The Skyhawks would add another run in the third inning. Gabby Glenn would single into left field before scoring on an RBI double to left center by Wilson, trimming the deficit to 4-3.
Trailing by one, the Skyhawks thought they tallied the game’s final knockout punch in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wade and Manning each reached base on singles to left field before Tate ripped an RBI single up the middle, scoring Wade from third. With runners on first and second, Smith provided yet another clutch late-game performance, belting a three-run home run over the scoreboard in center field. With the four runs, keyed in large part by Smith’s home run, the Skyhawks took what looked to be a safe 7-4 advantage into the top of the seventh.
Fate however would not be on the side of the Skyhawks. Tate moved from second base to pitcher for the top of the seventh, looking to secure the team’s first save of the season. The inning got off to a bumpy start on the frame’s first batter as Brittany Fortner led off the inning with a deep blast over the center field wall. The Shockers would string together a bunt single and a walk before the Skyhawks would register two consecutive outs. Paige Luellen would not squander the opportunity, doubling to center field, picking up two RBIs to knot the game at 7-7. Following another walk, Melanie Jaegers would score the go-ahead run with a single up the middle.
The Skyhawks would get the potential tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh but could not convert on the opportunity, dropping the 8-7 decision to Wichita State.
Freshman Elizabeth Wiegand would get the start in the circle, tossing six innings. After the bumpy first inning, Wiegand settled down to post solid numbers of just three earned runs and one strikeout. Tate (1-1) appeared in relief to earn the loss. She allowed four earned runs in 0.2 innings of work. Autumn Glenn relieved Tate to pitch the final out of the half inning.
Wade and Tate each tallied three hits on the afternoon while Smith and Manning each tallied two hits. Smith led the way with three RBIs while Manning drove in a pair of Skyhawks. Tate and Wilson each tallied an RBI each to round out the Skyhawks offensive performance.
UT Martin will return to action tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 9 when they cap off its appearance in the Lady Techster Invitation. The Skyhawks will wrap up the tournament against Jackson State at 11:15 a.m.