CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team could not pick up the series sweep of Austin Peay, dropping the season finale to the Lady Govs 6-3 at Cheryl Holt Field. With the regular season in the books, the Skyhawks have clinched the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference Tournament hosted by Jacksonville State.
The Skyhawks (27-25-1, 14-10 OVC) notched eight hits on the day, led by two hits each from their senior duo of Stephanie Nidiffer and Kayla Wade. Both players went 2-for-4 on the day while Nidiffer tallied one RBI on the day. Samantha McClure and Renate Meckl each tallied a hit and an RBI on the day as well.
Inside the circle, the Skyhawks turned to three freshmen as Elizabeth Wiegand earned the start. Wiegand allowed six hits and four earned runs in three innings of work while Brooke Kennedy appeared in relief, allowing two earned runs in her inning of work. Tayler Jerrick pitched the final two innings of the game, allowing just one hit and no runs.
Austin Peay got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, tallying one run on two hits. Marissa Lake and Kayla Davidson tallied back-to-back singles to left field before Lake eventually came around to score on an error, giving the Lady Govs the early advantage.
The Lady Govs would look to chip onto their lead in the second inning as Kristin Whitmire led off the inning with a double to right center. Whitmire would later come around to score the second run of the game on an infield single by Lake.
UT Martin would get on the board in the top of the third, cutting the Austin Peay advantage in half. Gabby Glenn got action started by drawing a two-out walk, before Carly Gonzales singled up the middle, moving Glenn to third. The Skyhawks would get on the board as Nidiffer, a recent graduate, singled to right field to score Glenn on the play.
Austin Peay would waste little time stretching its lead back to a comfortable margin, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Lauren de Castro got the inning started with an infield single before Whitmire smashed a home run to left field, giving the Lady Govs the 4-1 advantage through three innings of play.
The Skyhawks responded in the fourth inning by adding another run as Wade reached on a single to third base. Following the single, Wade took off, swiping second base before advancing to third on a throwing error on the play. The speedster would come around to play later on a single up the middle by McClure, cutting trimming the lead to two.
The Lady Govs would strike for another pair of runs, with one run coming in both the fourth and five inning. Laurel Burroughs and Amanda De Vries both tallied RBIs on their respective singles. With the pair of runs, the Lady Govs would take a 6-2 lead into the sixth inning.
The Skyhawks would strike for their final run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. Deven Wilson would lead off the innings with a double to left field before Wade tallied a bunt single to put runners at first and third with no outs. Meckl would enter as a pinch hitter before scoring Wilson on an RBI single to the pitcher. The Skyhawks would threaten in the inning, ultimately stranding four runners on base in the final two innings before dropping the 6-3 decision.
UT Martin will now shift its focus to the upcoming OVC Tournament this week. The Skyhawks have clinched the No. 6 seed and will face off against No. 3 seed Eastern Illinois on Wednesday, May 7 at 10 a.m.