April 11, 2018

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MARTIN, Tenn. –
In a series which was originally scheduled for a doubleheader before being shortened to a single-game contest earlier in the week, the University of Tennessee at Martin and University of Evansville battled for the equivalent of two full games before a RBI single by Aalia Bivens capped a 3-2 walk-off victory in the bottom of the 14th inning.

With the win the Skyhawks (20-22) marked a victory in the longest game in program history, well surpassing an 11-inning affair against Middle Tennessee on Apr. 20, 1994. The contest would also rank as one of the longest game in terms of time played in program history, running three hours and 22 minutes.

Included in the game’s lengthy outcome were 11 hits by the Skyhawks on the afternoon. Senior Savannah Dodson paced the squad with three hits on the day while Gracyn McBride, Paige Clark and Rachel Williams tallied a pair of base hits each. Included in the victory were RBIs from Williams in the fifth, a solo home run by McBride in the sixth and the game-winner by Bivens in the 14th.

The Skyhawks pitching staff of Hannah Ridolfi and Caitlin Karo posted impressive outings in the circle. Ridolfi picked up a tough no decision despite allowing just two runs over nine innings of work. Karo earned her 12th win of the season, striking out five and allowing just one hit in five innings of relief.

Evansville broke onto the scoreboard first in the top of the fourth inning. A pair of bunt singles by Mea Adams and Lindsay Renneisen started the inning before both moving into scoring position on a deep fly. With the go-ahead runner at third, Brittany Hay would tally her first of two RBIs with a sacrifice bunt to give the Purple Aces the lead.

UT Martin would respond in the bottom of the fifth inning with a pair of base hits and by capitalizing by its opponent’s mistakes. Clark would lead off the inning with a single up the middle before moving all the way to third on a pair of errors which saw Aeron Smith also advance to second on the play. With two runners in scoring position, Williams would loft a single into centerfield to score Clark on the play and tie the contest up.

The Skyhawks added to its run total in the sixth inning as McBride hit an opposite field solo home run off the top of the right field wall and over the fence to take a 2-1 advantage.

Trailing by a run in the top of the seventh inning, Evansville looked for a late rally. Down to just three outs, Hay would battle a 2-2 count to tally her second RBI of the contest with a leadoff solo home run down the left field line to tie the game at 2-2.

The Skyhawks would make a push in the bottom of the ninth inning, loading the bases with one out but could not come through with the go-ahead base knock.

The innings would continue to crawl along down the stretch until the top of the 13th inning when Evansville thought it took the lead. With runners on the corners and two outs, Evansville would scorch a would-be single up the middle which hit off the pitcher’s glove and brought a run home to score but the run would be taken off the board as the runner advancing from second was called out for interference to keep the game tied at 2-2.

The game would remain tied until the bottom of the 14th inning. With the sun approaching its descent over the horizon, Williams laced a leadoff single through the left side to start the inning before swiping second to move into scoring position. With the potential game-winning run at second, Bivens would come off the bench as a pinch hitter and stroke a 1-2 pitch up the middle which saw Williams slide under the tag at the plate to score the game-winning run.

UT Martin will look to build upon its recent three-game winning streak when playing host to Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Illinois on Friday, April 13. First pitch from Bettye Giles Field is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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