UT MARTIN SOFTBALL SPLITS HOME SERIES AGAINST OVC RIVAL EASTERN ILLINOIS
April 13, 2018
Game 1: Boxscore PDF
Game 2: Boxscore PDF
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball knocked off previously undefeated Ohio Valley Conference rival Eastern Illinois on Friday afternoon but could not cap off a series sweep, splitting the day’s doubleheader by scores of 4-3 and 5-2.
The Skyhawks (21-23, 5-7 OVC) gave the Panthers their first conference loss of the season while snapping a 10-game winning streak by simply outhitting the visitors in Game One. While both squads battled in the second half of the twinbill, EIU would salvage a road split with a four-run third inning which proved to be the difference in the contest.
Junior Gracyn McBride paced the Skyhawks offensively with four hits on the day along with a pair of RBIs – one coming in each game. Joining in the action was Paige Clark, Lauren Myers and Alli Fulcher who both tallied a pair of base knocks on the afternoon.
Freshman Caitlin Karo (13-8, 2.32 ERA) earned her third win in OVC play by allowing three runs over seven innings of work in the opener. Sophomore Hannah Ridolfi (8-12, 2.39 ERA) was hit with the loss after allowing three runs in five innings of play. Fellow sophomore Seeley Layne appeared in relief, allowing just one hit in two innings of scoreless relief.
Game 1: UT Martin 4, Eastern Illinois 3
Eastern Illinois would get on the board in the top of the third inning with two runs. Taylor Monahan singled in the inning before a walk to Mady Poulter put runners on first and second with one out. From there freshman Haley Mitchell laced a double down the left field line to plate the pair and give the Panthers the lead.
The Panthers added to their margin in the top of the fourth inning. Two runners would reach base before both moving into scoring position. With a runner at third, Maria Devito tallied a sacrifice fly, pushing the margin out to three runs.
With a sizable deficit facing the squad, Myers led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a triple to center field before coming home on a single through the left side by McBride to cut into the margin. The team’s second run later came home in the inning on a RBI single through the right side to make it a 3-2 contest.
The Skyhawks then tied it up in the bottom of the fifth inning as Aeron Smith got the frame started with a double down the left field line. With pinch runner Halie Fain in to relieve the catcher, she later came home to score on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Savannah Dodson to square the game at three runs apiece.
With the game back knotted up, UT Martin put the game away in the bottom of the sixth. A pair of singles by Fulcher and McBride had the Skyhawks in scoring position once again. With the go-ahead run just 60 feet from the plate, Jodie Duncan would lay down a bunt single to bring the game-winning run home to score and give the Skyhawks a 4-3 victory.
Game 2: Eastern Illinois 5, UT Martin 2
UT Martin would strike first in the second game of the day as Myers laced a single down the left field line before swiping second base to move into scoring position. Needing a big knock, McBride would come through with a single to center field which scored the early run to put the Skyhawks on top.
Eastern Illinois would charge back in the top of the fourth inning with its offensive outburst. An error started the inning before a single and a walk loaded the bases with one out. With the bases juiced, Mitchell would again double down the left field line to break the game open and take a 2-1 lead. The Panthers would not be done however as a single up the middle by Mia Davis resulted in another pair of runs to cross the plate, giving the visitors a 4-1 advantage.
The Panthers would add an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning on another RBI by Davis to push the lead out to four runs.
The Skyhawks would cut the margin down to three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as pinch hitter Aalia Bivens cranked her third home run of the season off the left field scoreboard. The squad would continue to fight but would watch the potential tying run come to the plate in both the sixth and seventh inning before falling 5-2.
UT Martin will return to action on Tuesday, April 17 when opening a six-game OVC road swing with a doubleheader at Southeast Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.