April 25, 2018

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OXFORD, Miss. –
The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team pushed Southeastern Conference opponent Ole Miss for much of the contest, taking a tied contest into the fourth inning before falling short on the road by a final score of 14-6 in six innings.

The Skyhawks (23-28) dropped their final scheduled non-conference matchup of the season despite scoring six runs on the evening. UT Martin saw seven different players tally base knocks in the contest while the duo of Jodie Duncan and Paige Clark led the way with two RBIs each. Alli Fulcher and Aeron Smith would cap off the Skyhawks’ offensive attack with a RBI each.

UT Martin pitching staff proved to be overmatched in the midweek affair, allowing 19 hits in the contest and 14 runs. Starter Caitlin Karo lasted just 1.1 innings before being pulled for Hannah Ridolfi (8-16) who was hit with the loss. Karo later re-entered the contest in relief as the pair to wrap up her day with seven earned runs while Ridolfi allowed three in 3.1 innings.

The Skyhawks showed no signs of hesitation in the opening inning of play, putting three quick runs on the board. The pair of Lauren Myers and Aalia Bivens would reach base to lead off the inning before Jodie Duncan drove in her first run of the night with a single to left. With the inning extended due to an error, Fulcher and Clark both drove in runs to give the squad a 3-0 advantage.

Ole Miss (28-18) would respond however in the bottom half of the inning to erase the deficit and give the home team the lead. Back-to-back singles led off the inning before the Rebels first run came home to score from third on a wild pitch. After the pitching miscue to put the home squad on the board, back-to-back-to-back home runs by the trio of Brittany Finney, Alex Schneider and Abbey Latham gave the Rebels the lead.

The Rebels added to their lead in the bottom of the second inning to chase Karo out of the pitching circle. With the first inning using the long ball to do damage, it was fourth singles in the second inning which led to a pair of runs crossing the plate to give Ole Miss a 6-3 advantage.

Facing a hole, UT Martin fought back to tie the game in the top of the third inning. Bivens led off the frame by narrowly missing a home run but instead cashing in a double to right field before scoring on the following play, a fielding error. Later in the inning, the Skyhawks came through in the clutch as RBI singles by Clark and Smith tied the game at six runs apiece.

The game would remain tied until the fourth inning. A Skyhawk error saw the eventual game-winning run come home to score while a three-run home run by Amanda Roth started to put the game away.

With a four-run cushion after a big fourth inning, Ole Miss kept its foot on the gas pedal in the final innings of play. The Rebels pushed the margin out to seven runs in the fifth inning with a triple by Schneider before Latham bashed her second home run of the contest with a two-run shot. Needing just one more run to enact the mercy rule, the game was ended in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by Finney to make it a 14-6 contest.

UT Martin will look to close out the regular season on a strong note with a pair of home Ohio Valley Conference doubleheaders this weekend against Belmont and Tennessee State at Bettye Giles Field.

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