CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team dug itself out of an early hole by scoring nine unanswered runs before tallying a 9-8 walk off victory over Northwestern State on the final day of the Chattanooga Frost Classic.
The Skyhawks improved to 11-2 on the season after Rachel Williams capped off an explosive comeback attempt with a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. As a whole the Skyhawks tallied six hits and seven RBIs, led by a 2-for-4 afternoon from Alli Fulcher which included four RBIs. Aeron Smith also posted a multi-hit contest while Carly Gonzales notched a pair of RBIs as well.
Three different Skyhawk pitchers saw action on the day with Sara Hooten earning the start before allowing seven earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. Brooke Kennedy briefly made an appearance, striking out two while allowing one earned run in 0.2 innings. Freshman Seeley Layne (1-0, 0.00 ERA) would earn the team’s victory by tossing three perfect innings while striking out four.
Northwestern State (7-8-1) would jump out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. With a pair of batters reaching base via a hit by pitch and a single, the Lady Demons would set up an ideal scoring scenario. The squad would convert on the scoring chance just one batter later as a three-run homer to right center by Brittney Jones gave NSU an early 3-0 lead.
The Lady Demons would add to their margin in the fourth inning. Three consecutive singles would score a run off a single to short by Elise Vincent. Later in the inning the visitors on the scoreboard would load the bases, setting up Micayla Sorosiak who mashed a grand slam to left field, taking an 8-0 lead in the contest.
Already down by eight runs, UT Martin looked to extend the game and keep the mercy rule from becoming enabled in the bottom of the fourth. The Skyhawks would benefit from three errors in the inning by directly scoring a run. The squad would then continue to chip away from the deficit in the fifth inning by scoring a pair of runs on a two-run single to left center by Fulcher to cut the team’s previous deficit down to 8-3.
UT Martin would eventually tie the contest in the sixth inning to compete the team’s comeback attempt. The first two Skyhawks would reach base before the pinch run duo of Gabby Zizzi and Alexa Combs notched a successful double-steal to move into scoring position. With a pair of runners on the bags, Gonzales drove a two-run double into right center after Zizzi scored on a fielding error. Faced with two outs, Fulcher would drive a two-run double to center to tie the game at 8-8.
After holding the Lady Demons scoreless again in the top of the seventh, the Skyhawks looked to win the game in the bottom half of the inning. Smith would get the inning started with a leadoff single before a Gonzales reach via a hit by pitch and Myers drew a walk to load the bases. Needing just one run, Williams would place a ball in the gap to bring home the game-winning run.
UT Martin will look to open the home portion of the season against Christian Brothers on Wednesday, March 1. Weather permitting, first pitch from Bettye Giles Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.