Nicholls State: Boxscore PDF
Austin Peay: Boxscore PDF
OXFORD, Miss. - The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team posted a comeback victory and a win over a conference opponent to sweep Day One of the Ole Miss Red and Blue Classic on Friday afternoon. The Skyhawks picked up a 5-4 victory over Nicholls State after scoring three runs in the top of the seventh to highlight a comeback attempt before defeating Austin Peay 4-2.
The Skyhawks (14-2) swept the opening day of tournament for the fourth consecutive weekend behind veteran leadership and clutch pitching performances. Junior Rachel Williams paced the Skyhawks with four hits while senior Carly Gonzales tallied three hits - including a pair of doubles. As a whole, the Skyhawks saw seven different player notch RBIs on the afternoon.
Game 1: UT Martin 5, Nicholls State 4
Nicholls State jumped out to an early advantage in the bottom of the first inning as Brooke Morris got the scoring chance started with a single before moving all the way to third on a stolen base and a throwing error. The run would then come home to score on a RBI single by Sydney Bourg to take a one-run advantage.
The Colonels would add to their advantage in the fourth inning once again as Morris notched a leadoff single through the left side. The bases would later become loaded before another walk to Kasey Frederick brought in the game's second run.
UT Martin would finally break into the scoring column in the top of the sixth inning. Savannah Dodson would tally a leadoff double into left field to start the inning before coming home to score on the following at bat off a double by Carly Gonzales. The senior speedster later came home on a sacrifice fly by Renate Meckl to tie the game at two runs each.
Nicholls State charged back in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead. A leadoff single by Amanda Gianelloni would start the inning before a two-run home run by Kimmie Rodriguez put the Colonels back on top 4-2.
Needing a comeback victory, UT Martin faced a two-run deficit heading into the team's final scoring opportunity. The Skyhawks would start the inning with back-to-back singles by Alli Fulcher and Jodie Duncan before moving the pair into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Aeron Smith. Fulcher would score later in the inning on a RBI single by Savannah Dodson to cut the deficit in half. The Skyhawks then loaded the bases before drawing yet another walk to score game's tying run. With the game tied once again, Williams would give the Skyhawks its first and most important lead of the contest with a game-winning RBI single.
Sara Hooten earned the starting nod, allowing three earn runs and eight base hits in 5.1 innings of work. Freshman Seeley Layne (2-0, 0.00 ERA) picked up her second victory after tossing 1.2 hitless innings.
Game 2: UT Martin 4, Austin Peay 2
UT Martin would jump out to an early lead in a matchup of two Ohio Valley Conference members against Austin Peay. Gonzales would tally a leadoff walk to start the bottom half of the first before swiping second base. The Skyhawks first run would score on a throwing error off a ball hit by Meckl before coming around herself on the ensuing at-bat off a single to right field to take a 2-0 advantage.
The Skyhawks would add another pair of runs in the bottom of the third as Williams led off the inning with a triple to right center. She would later come home to score on a double to right center by Meckl before scampering home later in the inning on a field error to give UT Martin a four-run lead.
Austin Peay would finally get on the board in the fifth inning. Allie Blackwood would draw a two-out walk to continue the inning, setting up Carly Mattson who drove a two-run home run to left field to trim the margin in half.
The Skyhawks would hold tough from there as Brooke Kennedy (7-1, 3.04 ERA) notched her sixth complete game of the season. Kennedy struck out six while issuing four walks and two earned runs.
UT Martin will return to action against Mississippi Valley State on Saturday, March 4. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.