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The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team capitalized on the game’s middle innings to kick off its Spring Break swing through the state of Florida with a road victory at Bethune-Cookman, 8-3, on Thursday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (8-11) pounded out 10 hits on the day while holding their opponent to just two earned runs on the afternoon. The infield duo of Aalia Bivens and Jodie Duncan paced the Skyhawks with three hits each while Veronica Pezzoni, Gracyn McBride, Aeron Smith and Rachel Williams also tallied base knocks. While four players notched RBIs on the day, Williams led the pack by tying her previous career-high with her third four-RBI performance of her Skyhawk career.

In the pitcher’s circle, sophomore Hannah Ridolfi (5-5, 2.00 ERA) earned the victory with her eighth complete game of the season. Ridolfi tallied three strikeouts and one walk while allowing nine base hits in seven innings of work.

UT Martin broke through in the scoring column in the top of the fourth inning as Bivens and Duncan tallied back-to-back opposite field singles. An error would load the bases for Smith which added to her team-lead with her 12th RBI of the season to take an early advantage. With the bases still loaded, Williams made the most of the situation, blasting a grand slam – the team’s first of the season - to center giving the Skyhawks a 5-0 lead.

Bethune Cookman (9-14) looked to chip away at the margin in the bottom half of the inning as the first three Wildcats in the inning reached base. The home squad would almost squander the opportunity but a throwing error allowed the team’s first run to score before escaping the inning moderately unfazed.

The Skyhawks struck back in the top of the fifth inning to add another run to their margin. Much like in the fourth, Bivens and Duncan would tally consecutive base hits before a run came home to score on a muffed batted ball by Lauren Myers.

Facing a 6-1 deficit, Bethune-Cookman attempted another comeback attempt. The Wildcats would once again cut into the margin with RBI singles by Richard and Bermudez to make it a three-run contest.

Looking to put the game away, UT Martin scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning. The Skyhawks would tally their seventh run on a double by Duncan to score McBride on the play. The bases would later become loaded as the Wildcats walked Myers and Smith on eight consecutive balls. Struggling with control, the senior Alicia Hansen took advantage, tallying her fourth RBI of the season after being hit by a pitch to make it an 8-3 margin – the game’s final score.

UT Martin will look to build upon the team’s win with an appearance in the Stetson Invitational beginning on Friday, March 9 and running through Sunday, March 11.

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