SKYHAWK SOFTBALL EXTENDS WINNING STREAK TO SEVEN WITH SERIES SWEEP OF BELMONT
April 6, 2014
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Game One: Boxscore PDF Game Two: Boxscore PDF
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team strung together timely hitting, including two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and clutch pitching performances to cap off yet another dramatic finish as the Skyhawks defeated Ohio Valley Conference foe Belmont 3-1 and 2-1.
The Skyhawks (21-16-1, 9-3 OVC) saw key performances from several contributors on the afternoon. Freshman Taylor Manning tallied two hits on the day, including a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to win Game Two. Senior Kayla Wade tallied four hits on the day while Stephanie Nidiffer and Carly Gonzales each tallied two hits on the day.
UT Martin leaned on dominating pitching to pick up the series sweep, allowing no earned runs on the day. Elizabeth Wiegand started in Game One, tossing six innings of work while striking out five and allowing just one walk in the victory. Kenzi Tate got the starting nod in Game Two, tossing 1.2 shutout innings and striking out one. Casey Vincent appeared in relief, striking out three in four innings of work. Brooke Kennedy appeared in both games, shutting down the Bruin offense with five strikeouts and just one hit in 2.1 innings of work, picking up a win and a save on the day.
Game One: UT Martin 3, Belmont 1
Both teams struggled trying to get anything going in the first four innings of play until the Skyhawks broke through with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Wade led off the inning with a single, breaking the Skyhawks into the hit column. Wade moved to third on a single by Deven Wilson, before pinch runner Gabby Glenn and Wade converted a successful double steal attempt of second and home to give the Skyhawks the lead. Glenn would later score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Nidiffer, giving the Skyhawks the 2-0 advantage.
Belmont would cut the lead in half in the top of the sixth inning on a RBI double to center field by Jessica Wilson, scoring Kat Hollingsworth from first.
The Skyhawks would tally the game’s final run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Gonzales tallied a two-out single to the shortstop before swiping second. Gonzales’ time on the base paths would be minimal as Lauren Smith drove in Gonzales with an RBI single.
The Bruins would threaten in the top of the seventh inning, trailing by two runs. Belmont would tally consecutive singles to lead off the inning before the Skyhawks turned to the freshman Kennedy. Kennedy would make short work of the Bruin offense, tallying three consecutive strikeouts to strand the runners and pick up the save.
Game Two: UT Martin 2, Belmont 1
UT Martin would threaten to get on the board in the bottom of the third inning after tallying three hits. Manning would strike for a leadoff single up the middle before both Dixon and Wade would register singles through the right side of the infield. The Skyhawks would not be able to push the runs across however, ending the inning on a groundout to first.
Belmont took its first lead of the day in the top of the fifth inning. Kayla Wells singled into left field, before moving into scoring position following a steal. Wells would eventually come around to score from third on an infield error, giving the Bruins the 1-0 lead.
Kennedy would appear in Game Two, replacing Vincent after a double in the top of the sixth inning. Kennedy would strike out the final batter of the frame to extinguish the threat.
Following another shutdown inning by Kennedy in the top half of the seventh, the Skyhawks went into the bottom half of the inning trailing by one. Nidiffer led off the inning with a single to center field before being pulled for Glenn, the pinch runner. Gonzales would reach first via walk before both runners would be moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Juli Layne. The move by Layne would pay off huge as the ensuing hit by Manning, a single to left field would score both Gonzales and Glenn to win the game in dramatic fashion.
The walk-off is the Skyhawks third in the last four games, stretching their winning streak to a season-best seven games. The Skyhawks will look to continue their hot play when they return to action at in-state foe Memphis on Wednesday, April 9 at 5 p.m.