JACKSONVILLE, Ala. –The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team tallied fifteen hits, while scoring 13 runs to earn the series sweep with Ohio Valley Conference East division rival Jacksonville State on Sunday afternoon.
Game One: Jacksonville State 7, UT Martin 6 (10)
UT Martin (27-11, 9-4 OVC) pushed host Jacksonville State to the brink before falling in the 10th inning, 7-6. Freshman Autumn Glenn suffered the hard luck loss, allowing no earned runs in three innings of work before falling with the international tie breaker in effect.
The Skyhawks got on the board first in the top of the fourth as sophomore Lauren Smith smashed her team-leading ninth home run over the right center wall to score classmate Kenzi Tate and take the early 2-0 advantage.
UTM chipped on an additional run in the fifth when Jessie Britt led off the inning with a walk before eventually coming around to score on a passed ball.
Jacksonville State (22-17, 9-4 OVC) quickly responded in the bottom of the fifth as Sara Borders cranked an equalizing home run, scoring Ella Denes and Krystal Ruth to tie the game at 3-all.
The Skyhawks took control of the game in the seventh inning as Tate lined a three run home run down the left field line to score Taylor and Sam McClure, taking the 6-3 advantage into the bottom of the seventh.
The Gamecocks would not go quietly as Kalee Tabor doubled to center, scoring two before Savannah Sloan singled to left to tie the game at six and force extra innings.
In the 10th inning, with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, JSU pushed across the winning run as Cadi Oliver was placed on second to begin the inning. Ruth tallied the winning hit, singling up the middle to score Oliver to bring game one to a close.
In the circle the Skyhawks weighed on Casey Vincent and Glenn in the 10-inning marathon. Vincent pitched 6.1 innings, striking out four while allowing just one walk. Glenn added three innings in relief, earning the difficult loss.
Game Two: UT Martin 7, Jacksonville State 6
The Skyhawks flipped the script on the host Gamecocks, holding the advantage and earning the series split with the 7-6 victory.
UTM wasted very little time scoring three runs in the opening half-inning of the game. All-American Taylor began the game with a lead-off home run into deep right center. The Skyhawks capitalized on the Gamecock error as Becca Williams reached on the miscue, scoring Kayla Wade from third before Kelsey Dixon tallied an RBI to score Smith.
The Skyhawks weren’t done there as the away team tallied a run in three consecutive innings. McClure scored on yet another JSU error as Wade reached on the throwing miscue in the second. Freshman Deven Wilson singled down the left field line in the top of the third, scoring Dixon.
Taylor hit her second home run of the game in the top of the fourth, just the senior’s second multi-home run game of her career and seventh blast of the season, giving the Skyhawks the 4-1 advantage.
The Gamecocks offense quickly responded by scoring four unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings to bring the game within one. JSU’s three run fifth inning was highlighted by an RBI double into left field off the bat of Denes to plate a pair.
The Skyhawks tacked on an additional run in the top of the sixth as Wade led off the inning with her sixth triple of the season before Tate drove her in with a sacrifice fly to center.
JSU threatened in the final two innings of the game, scoring one before the Skyhawks extinguished the threat to take the series split.
UTM used three pitchers to notch the road victory, led with Tate’s start. Tate pitched 5.0 innings, allowing five earned runs to pick up her 15th win of the season. Glenn and Vincent made appearance in relief, combining for scoreless innings as Vincent was credited for her second save on the campaign.
The Skyhawks will return to action on Wednesday, April 10, then they play host to Missouri Valley Conference opponent Southern Illinois. First pitch from Bettye Giles Field is slated for 4 p.m.