Game One: Boxscore PDF
Game Two: Boxscore PDF
MARTIN, Tenn. – While it took a bit to get the bats going, the University of Tennessee at Martin softball team would power three home runs and garner a stout pitching performance to send the team’s three senior players out winners in their final game played on Bettye Giles Field. The Skyhawks would notch a series split against Southeast Missouri after dropping Game One 7-0 before exploding for an 8-2 victory in the nightcap.
The Skyhawks wrapped up the regular season with an overall record of 36-16 and 13-5 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play to garner the No. 2 seed in next week’s OVC Softball Championships held in Oxford, Ala. This marks the team’s highest conference finish since winning the league in 2012.
Despite being shutout in the first game of the day, the Skyhawks still managed to tally 13 base hits along with three home runs. Sophomore Lauren Myers paced the Skyhawks with three base hits while Savannah Dodson, Carly Gonzales, Alicia Hansen and Jodie Duncan each tallied a pair of base knocks. The trio of Duncan, Gonzales and Gracyn McBride would each tally home runs in the night cap – providing all of the team’s scoring offense on three swings.
In the pitching circle it was senior Brooke Kennedy (20-5, 2.87 ERA) who proved clutch once again. Not only would Kennedy finish OVC play with an unbeaten 10-0 record, the hurler would pick up her 20th win of the season – becoming just the fourth player in program history to tally 20 wins in a single season. Kennedy would strike out a season-high 10 batters while issuing just one walk in seven innings of work.
“We know we have a good team and some players have really stepped up,” said UT Martin head coach Donley Canary. “When you talk about what Brooke, Renate (Meckl) and Carly have achieved in this program, what can you say? Hopefully the best is still yet to come for those seniors. They have done a great job of being good leaders for us and no one works harder than those kids.”
Game One: Southeast Missouri 7, UT Martin 0
Needing a sweep and some help in order to make the OVC Softball Championships, Southeast Missouri would come out as the aggressors in the first game of the day. The Redhawks would tally four hits in the first inning en route to scoring three runs – including a two-run single off the bat of Parker Bandy to take an early advantage. Another single through the left side by Ashely Ellis would give the Redhawks a three-run lead.
Four more runs would come home in the top of the second inning, giving the Redhawks a sizeable advantage to lean on down the stretch. After three consecutive singles would load the bases, newly inserted relief pitcher Seeley Layne would be welcomed with a grand slam off the bat of Darby Pruett to make the score 7-0.
The Skyhawks best scoring opportunity would come in the third inning when the team tallied a pair of base hits. A double down the left field line by Dodson would put the squad in a good spot before Gonzales walked to put two runners on. Myers would then stroke a single up the middle but a perfect throw from centerfielder Rachel Anderson would nail Dodson at the plate. Another innocent flyout to center would later end the scoring opportunity.
Game Two: UT Martin 8, Southeast Missouri 2
Much like in the first game of the afternoon, it would be Southeast Missouri who jumped on the board first. The Redhawks would tally three hits in the opening inning before Pruett tallied her sixth RBI of the afternoon with a two-run single into right field.
After being held scoreless for 10 consecutive innings, UT Martin finally burst into the scoring column in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gonzales and Myers would start the inning with a pair of singles to put a pair of runners on base before moving into scoring position by McBride on the next at bat. Following back-to-back outs, Duncan would step to the plate with runners in scoring position and two outs. The lefty would then turn on the pitch and blast a three-run home run over the wall in right center to give the Skyhawks their first lead of the day at 3-2.
The Skyhawks would add some extra insurance in the bottom of the fifth inning. A leadoff walk to Aeron Smith would start the inning before pinch runner Gabby Zizzi moved up to second base on a wild pitch. Dodson would then put two runners on base with a single to centerfield before swiping second to put two Skyhawks in scoring position. With two runners on, Gonzales would hit a storybook opposite field home run to left field to give the squad a four-run advantage. Still not done, McBride would follow a single by Myers would a powerful blast over the left field scoreboard to make it an 8-2 ballgame.
After allowing two early runs, Kennedy would shut the door on the Redhawks throughout the rest of the game. The righty would allow just two base hits over the final six innings of play while going perfect following the fourth inning.
UT Martin will now turn its focus to the OVC Softball Championship. The Skyhawks will open tournament play on Wednesday, May 10 against No. 7 seed Tennessee Tech. First pitch from Choccolocco Park is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.