MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team used timely hitting and solid pitching to pick up a mid-week road victory over American Athletic Conference foe Memphis 2-0 on Wednesday night. The Skyhawks have won eight consecutive games, including the first win against Memphis since 2006.
The Skyhawks (22-16-1) received yet another strong performance from freshman second baseman Taylor Manning on the afternoon. Manning posted a perfect 3-for-3 day from plate, including both the Skyhawks runs batted in. Joining Manning with hits on the day were Kayla Wade, Stephanie Nidiffer and Lauren Smith.
Sticking with a winning recipe, the Skyhawks posted yet another dominating pitching performance as three players saw action inside the circle. Casey Vincent (5-4) picked up the victory, striking out four and allowing just one hit in three scoreless innings of work. Elizabeth Wiegand appeared in relief, striking out two in 2.1 innings of work. De facto closer Brooke Kennedy tossed 1.2 perfect innings to pick up the save and seal the victory.
“Any time you can go on the road and defeat a team from a power conference in the American Athletic Conference, you have to be pleased,” said UT Martin coach Donley Canary. “We were able to put together a complete game which showcased our speed, defense and pitching ability. Memphis is a tough team in our past, and it was good to go on the road and pick up the victory as we get ready for conference play this weekend.”
UT Martin would strike for its first run in the top of the second inning. Nidiffer would turn a full count into a walk before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Zizzi then wasted little time getting involved in the inning, stealing second base for her 13th stolen base of the season. Manning would bring the speedster around to score on the next at bat, doubling down the left field line to give the Skyhawks the 1-0 lead.
The Skyhawks would strike again in the fourth following a pair of doubles. Faced with two outs, Nidiffer got the ball rolling with a double down the left field line. Nidiffer’s time in scoring position would be short as Manning got the Skyhawks another run on the board by lacing a double to center field to score the third baseman from second.
Memphis would present its biggest threat in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Tigers would string together a pair of hits in the inning, but the Skyhawks would ultimately strand two runners on base to end the threat.
The Skyhawks will return to Ohio Valley Conference play when they travel to defending champion Eastern Illinois for a three-game weekend series beginning Saturday, April 12-13. Action from Williams Field is schedule to get underway both Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.