UT MARTIN SOFTBALL SWEEPS OPENING DAY OF SKYHAWK HAMPTON INN CLASSIC
March 17, 2018
Game 1: Boxscore PDF
Game 2: Boxscore PDF
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team served as harsh hosts on the opening day of the Skyhawk Hampton Inn Classic, sweeping the day’s action with wins over Akron (5-0) and Northern Kentucky (4-1) while holding its opponents to just one run on the day.
The Skyhawks (13-14) posted a .353 batting average in their home tournament, tallying 18 base hits on the day while scoring nine runs. While she tallied just one base hit on the day, senior Savannah Dodson made the most of her plate appearances, tallying one hit while driving in three runs against Northern Kentucky. Fellow senior Jodie Duncan paced the squad with four base hits on the day while joining Alli Fulcher with two RBIs each – including a solo home run by the later.
As good as the bats were on Saturday afternoon, the Skyhawks pitching staff was equally as impressive. The underclassmen duo of sophomore Hannah Ridolfi (6-7, 2.05 ERA) and freshman Caitlin Karo (7-4, 1.68 ERA) limited their opponents to just one run on the afternoon. Ridolfi tossed her first shutout as a Skyhawk against Akron, allowing just five hits in seven innings of work. Karo overcame some early adversity to work out of two jams in the contest and allow just one earned run against Northern Kentucky.
“I was proud of the way the girls played today,” UT Martin head coach Donley Canary said. “Pitching hasn’t been the problem this season when you are talking about the two starters we have. Today we came out and hit the ball while playing clean on the defensive side. It’s good to be home and see competition like we will need to be ready for when league play starts next week.”
Game 1: UT Martin 5, Akron 0
UT Martin wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Akron, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. With two quick outs to start the inning, Fulcher would turn on the first pitch of her at bat and launch it into the netting protecting the scoreboard in left field. The home run was Fulcher’s fourth of the season. From there Gracyn McBride drew a four-pitch walk before Dodson entered as a pinch runner and quickly stole second base. The scoring position would be rewarded by back-to-back singles by Duncan and freshman Paige Clark to make it a 3-0 contest.
The Skyhawks would add to their margin in the second inning as Ridolfi made her debut in the batter’s box before lacing a single through the right side to leadoff the frame. The pitcher would then be pulled for pinch runner Madelyn Dycus who not only stole second base, but took the throw attempt off the helmet before scoring all the way from first on the play. The inning would later be capped off with a single to left field by Fulcher for her second RBI of the contest to score Veronica Pezzoni on the play and notch the game’s final runs at 5-0.
From there Ridolfi would take control of the contest, allowing just two runs over the final four innings of play to seal the victory.
Game 2: UT Martin 4, Northern Kentucky 1
Northern Kentucky hoped to build upon its own strong offensive day after notching a run-rule victory against Akron earlier in the day. The Norse opened the top of the first with four consecutive singles to take an early lead. After scoring the game’s first run, Karo would shut the Norse down in the rest of the frame to tally three consecutive outs to escape the potentially dangerous inning.
UT Martin responded however in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game back up. With two outs in the inning, McBride would work her second walk of the day to put a pair of base runners on. From there Duncan would push the tying run across with an opposite field single to score Fulcher.
Both teams would struggle to find separation until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Skyhawks took their first lead of the contest. Three consecutive base hits by Lauren Myers, Aeron Smith and Rachel Williams would load the bases with one out. Needing a big play, Dodson would work a out-strike count and tally a sacrifice fly to right field to score Myers and take a 2-1 advantage.
The Skyhawks later put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning with some insurance runs. Duncan and Williams would both tally singles in the inning, later resulting in runners on second and third with two outs. Hoping for some breathing room, Dodson stepped up once again and singled up the middle to notch a two-run RBI and clinch the Skyhawks 4-1 victory.
UT Martin will return to action on Sunday, March 18 when closing out the Skyhawk Hampton Inn Classic with a pair of contests. Just like this afternoon, the Skyhawks will battle Akron at 12:30 p.m. before closing out the tournament appearance against Northern Kentucky at 3 p.m.