MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin softball head coach Donley Canary notched career victory No. 500 with an 8-0 victory over Christian Brothers on Wednesday afternoon. With the victory, Canary becomes just the fifth head coach in Ohio Valley Conference history to eclipse the 500-win mark.
The Skyhawks (12-2) are led by Canary who joins fellow active OVC head coaches Jana McGinnis (Jacksonville State) and Jane Worthington (Eastern Kentucky) as the league’s veterans with over 500 wins – joining a slim company. Canary also ranks as the program’s all-time wins leader in his 16th season.
“500 is a milestone but that’s a lot of games,” said Canary. “I’m just glad that it is finally done so we can move forward. The kids came out today, everyone got to play and do some different things. It was good to play on our home field. We have played some really strong competition and I like where we are right now.”
For the game itself, UT Martin dominated from start to finish to notch its first win at home of the season. The Skyhawks outhit Christian Brothers 13-1 on the day while notching the team’s seventh mercy rule of the young season with the game coming to a close midway through the fifth inning.
17 different players saw action for the Skyhawks, led by the playoff senior Renate Meckl who paced the team with three hits while tallying a pair of RBIs. Junior Savannah Dodson was also perfect at the plate, tallying a pair of base hits including a home run and two RBIs. As a whole, five players drove in runs while nine different hitters tallying base knocks.
Four pitchers saw action on the mound with Brooke Kennedy (6-1, 3.23 ERA) picking up the victory, striking out three and allowing one base hit in three innings of work. The newcomer trio of Sara Hooten, Samantha Scott and Seeley Layne combined to pitch two perfect innings of relief to lift the squad to the eight-run victory.
UT Martin broke into the scoring column in the first inning as Gonzales led off the frame with a single into center before tallying one of her two stolen bases to move into scoring position. Sophomore Lauren Myers would follow the steal by turning on her speed as well, pulling a triple down the right field line to score Gonzales and put the Skyhawks on top early before coming home to score herself on a sacrifice fly by Rachel Williams. The Skyhawks would punctuate the scoring inning with a solo home run by Meckl to left field to take a three-run advantage.
The Skyhawks stayed aggressive in the second half as Gracyn McBride led off the inning with a single to center followed by singles by Dodson and Gonzales which led to a run scoring. The Skyhawks would add another as Gonzales later scored on a wild pitch before a single scored the team’s third run of the inning.
The squad would cap off the day’s scoring in the third inning. After an innocent groundout, Aeron Smith would drive a double down the left field line to move into scoring position, setting Dodson up for a two-run blast over the left field wall to take an 8-0 lead.
UT Martin will return to action with a four-game appearance in the Ole Miss Red and Blue Classic beginning on Friday, March 3-5.