Iona: Boxscore PDF
Weber State: Boxscore PDF
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team earned a split on its final day of the Highlander Classic, earning a 14-10 win over Iona before falling 7-5 to Weber State.
The Skyhawks (17-6) finished the tournament with a 2-3 mark despite winning two of their final three contests after dropping a pair of games to host UC Riverside on Thursday. UT Martin would actually outscore its opponents 19-17 on the day but it would only be good enough for a split.
Senior Renate Meckl would pace the team with five hits on the day – including two for extra bases with a triple and a double on the afternoon. Five other players would tally multi-hit afternoons while Jodie Duncan tallied four of her own and Gracyn McBride notched three – including a home run and four RBIs.
With just three pitchers available for the weekend, the lack of arms would catch up to the Skyhawks against formidable opponents. Sara Hooten (4-2, 3.45 ERA) would pick up a victory after allowing four earned runs in six innings of work against Iona. Samantha Scott (3-2, 3.50 ERA) suffered a loss against Weber State, allowing six earned runs over six innings of work. Seeley Layne also appeared in relief, allowing three earned runs in one inning of work.
Game 1: UT Martin 14, Iona 10
After facing a brief delay to start the game, Iona would come out of the gates with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The Skyhawks would pay for a walk later in the inning as Kristen Turner drove a two-run home run down the left field line.
UT Martin would rally in the bottom half of the inning to take its first lead of the day. Carly Gonzales drew a four-pitch walk to start the inning before coming home to score on a triple to center by Meckl. Another walk would result in runs later in the frame as Lauren Myers laced a two-run single into centerfield to score Meckl and pinch runner Gabby Zizzi to take a 3-2 lead.
The Skyhawks would add to their margin in the bottom of the third inning. Back-to-back singles by Williams and Meckl would put the Skyhawks in action before a wild pitch brought in the inning’s first run. With Meckl still on the bags, McBride would single into right center to give UT Martin a 5-2 advantage.
Iona would not go down quietly however, scoring seven runs in the top of the fourth to not only eliminate the deficit but take a four-run lead of its own. The inning would get started with a solo home run before ultimately seven hits and two errors would result in the big inning.
UT Martin would look to begin chipping away in the bottom of the fifth inning. Meckl would lead off the inning with a single to right field before moving herself into scoring position by swiping second base. With a runner just itching to score, McBride would lace a two-run home run to right center to trim the team’s deficit down to two runs.
Iona would look for a little insurance after the big fly by McBride in the top of the sixth. The Gaels would find a home run to Tori Danner to push the team’s lead back out to three heading into the bottom half of the inning.
The Skyhawks would fight back in the bottom of the sixth. After the first two runners of the frame reached base, Williams would pull a double into left center to score the pair, making it a one-run game. Williams then came around to score herself on a RBI single by Meckl to tie the contest. A triple by Alli Fulcher, single by Duncan and a double by Gonzales each drove in runs to cap of the explosive inning and seal the team’s 14-10 victory.
Game 2: Weber State 7, UT Martin 5
UT Martin would jump out to an early lead in the second game, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. After reaching on a catcher’s interference, Gonzales ultimately came all the way around to score later in the inning on a passed ball while Meckl scored before a run-down recorded the third out of the inning.
Weber State looked to quickly made up the team’s deficit in the bottom half of the inning. The Wildcats would get on the board with a two-run double by Molly Horne to tie the game. The squad later to its first lead of the contest off a two-run home run to left center by Sara Hingsberger to take a 4-2 lead.
The Skyhawks struck back in the third inning as Savannah Dodson reached on an infield hit before advancing all the way to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. With the run just 60 feet away, McBride would single through the left side to score Dodson on the play and trim the margin to one run.
Weber State added on its lead in the fifth inning. Hingsberger would get the inning started with an infield single before coming home to score on a bunt single by McKinley Brinkerhoff. Then Sadie Blacker would tally the team’s second RBI of the inning to make it a 6-3 contest.
UT Martin looked to rally in the sixth inning as Meckl started the frame with a double to left before coming home to score on a single by Duncan. The squad would add another run later in the frame as Aeron Smith singled home Alexa Combs.
Despite the team’s valiant comeback attempt late in the game, Weber State would score another run in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach by a final score of 7-5.
UT Martin will return to action with a home matchup against Freed-Hardeman on Wednesday, March 15. First pitch from Bettye Giles Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.