March 29, 2017

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MARTIN, Tenn. –
The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team pushed its winning streak to four games with a 5-3 non-conference home victory over in-state foe Middle Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (24-8) tallied nine hits on the day while playing clean on the defensive side of the ball to remain undefeated in midweek contests. Eight different Skyhawks tallied base hits in the contest with sophomore Alli Fulcher tallying the team’s lone multi-hit performance of the day while notching a pair of runs score. Three juniors combined to drive in the team’s run with Rachel Williams tallying a pair of RBIs while Jodie Duncan and Aeron Smith each drove in a run on the day.

While the defense was impressive, the pitching was strong as well. Senior Brooke Kennedy (11-2, 3.10 ERA) notched her 39th career victory after allowing three earned runs in four innings of work. Freshman Seeley Layne also impressed in the circle, pitching the final three innings of play while allowing just one base hit to notch her first career save.

UT Martin would get on the board first in the contest in the bottom of the second inning. Renate Meckl would lead off the inning the hard way after being hit by a pitch before moving herself into scoring position by swiping second base. A single through the left side by Fulcher would keep Meckl on the move before a RBI single by Duncan would drive home the first run of the game. The Skyhawks would then notch their third consecutive single of the inning, this one a single through the right side by Williams to bring the team’s second run home to score.

Middle Tennessee looked to not only even the score but take a brief advantage in the top of the fourth inning. A leadoff walk to Precious Birdsong would start the rally before later coming home to score on a single through the left side by Kristin Uselton. With one run on the board, the Blue Raiders would erase their deficit and take a lead with one swing as Keely McGee drove a deep home run down the left field line to score a pair and take a 3-2 advantage.

Trailing for the first time in the contest, the Skyhawks would get back on top in the bottom half of the fourth. Meckl would once again lead off the inning by reaching base with a single through the left side which would be followed by a single from Fulcher. With two runners on, the Blue Raiders looked to turn its third double play of the day but an errant throw on a force out attempt off the bat of Duncan would not only result in zero outs, but score the game-tying run. With a pair of runners in scoring position following the error, a RBI groundout by Williams and a single up the middle by Smith would give the home squad a 5-3 advantage.

With Kennedy pulled due to a pregame pitch count, Layne would enter the contest with a two-run lead and nine outs to seal the team’s 28th victory. The freshman would impress down the stretch, allowing just one hit over the final three innings of play to pick up the save and secure the 5-3 victory.

UT Martin will look to build upon its strong play as of late with an OVC doubleheader at SIUE on Saturday, April 1. First pitch from Cougar Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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