March 23, 2018

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Game One: Boxscore             PDF

Game Two: Boxscore             PDF

MARTIN, Tenn. – The opening of Ohio Valley Conference play was not friendly to the University of Tennessee at Martin softball team as the squad dropped both games of the league opening doubleheader to Jacksonville State by scores of 6-4 and 6-2.

The Skyhawks (14-18) saw the defending league champs bust out of their slump as of late after being outhit 24-13 on the afternoon. The outfield duo of senior Rachel Williams and freshman Veronica Pezzoni paced the Skyhawks with three hits on the afternoon while juniors Alli Fulcher and Lauren Myers each tallied a pair of base knocks.

Pitching would not be a bright spot for the Skyhawks as three different pitchers saw action in the doubleheader. Hannah Ridolfi (6-9. 2.45 ERA) and Caitlin Karo (8-6, 2.31 ERA) both picked up losses on the day after allowing five runs each. Sophomore Seeley Layne appeared in relief, allowing two runs over five innings.

Game 1: Jacksonville State 6, UT Martin 4

UT Martin would get on the board first in the league opener as Pezzoni reached on an infield single before advancing into scoring position on a throwing error by the Gamecocks. With runners on the corners, Fulcher would draw first blood with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Pezzoni and take an early advantage.

Jacksonville State responded in the top of the second inning as Leila Chambers doubled to left field to start the frame. The Gamecocks would later see Chambers come home to score following a pair of sacrifice bunts with Jada Terry being credited with the RBI.

The Gamecocks began to pull away in the top of the third inning as the offense batted through the order. Three consecutive singles led off the inning before Chambers doubled down the right field line with the bases loaded to take a 3-1 advantage. Another sacrifice bunt by Hayley Sims would score a run before Ryann Luna capped off the inning’s scoring with a single through the left side to give JSU a four-run lead.

UT Martin began to chip away in the bottom of the sixth. A single by Myers followed by walks to Aalia Bivens and Jodie Duncan loaded the bases with two outs. Needing a big hit, freshman Paige Clark lofted a single over the infield to score a pair of runs and cut the margin to two.

Jacksonville State added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning on an infield single by Emily Woodruff to hold a 6-3 margin.

Down to its final three outs, UT Martin gave it one final push in the bottom of the seventh inning as Williams and Pezzoni tallied singles of their own. With runners on the first and third, Fulcher would single down the left field line to score a run but would only get that close, falling 6-4.

Game 2: Jacksonville State 6, UT Martin 2

Much like in the first game of the day, it was UT Martin which got on the board first. Williams would lead off the bottom of the third with a double to left center which just missed stayed in the ballpark. The senior would later move over to third on a sacrifice before coming home to score on a single up the middle by Pezzoni.

Facing its first deficit of the contest, Jacksonville State mounted a comeback in the ensuing inning. Chambers tallied her third hit of the afternoon before a two-run home run by Terry down the left field line gave the Gamecocks a 2-1 advantage.

The Gamecocks would not be done scoring however, tallying three runs in the top of the fifth. JSU tallied four hits in the inning, scoring runs on RBIs by Taylor Beshears, Alexus Jimmerson and Chambers to take a 5-1 lead.

The Skyhawks scored their second run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Fulcher started the rally with a single up the middle before scoring from first on a double to right by Gracyn McBride to drive to deficit to three runs.

Looking for a little insurance, Caitlyn Sapp put the game out of reach with a solo home run down the left

field line in the top of the seventh.

UT Martin will return to action when hosting OVC foe Tennessee State on Sunday, March 25. First pitch from Bettye Giles Field for the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m.

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