UT MARTIN SOFTBALL PUSHES WINNING STREAK TO FIVE WITH SWEEP OF EVANSVILLE
April 11, 2017
Game One: Boxscore PDF
Game Two: Boxscore PDF
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team posted a dominating performance, outscoring Evansville 10-3 on the afternoon to notch a non-conference doubleheader sweep and notch the team’s 30th win of the season. The Skyhawks defeated the Purple Aces 7-2 in the opener before posting a 3-1 series clinching victory.
The Skyhawks (30-12) not only extended their winning streak to five games – marking the third such streak this season – but reached the 30-win plateau for just the 12th time in the program’s 32-year history. Entering the contest as one of the country’s best stolen base threats - ranking second nationally – the Skyhawks broke the program’s single-season stolen base record after converting on seven attempts to push the season total up to 129.
Along with the team’s speed on the bases, UT Martin made the most of its 12 hits on the day. Senior Carly Gonzales extended her hitting streak to 11 games after tallying three hits on the day while notching a pair of RBIs and two stolen bases. Alli Fulcher and Aeron Smith also tallied multi-hit afternoons, tallying a pair of base hits while both notching home runs and combining for four RBIs. Fulcher would lead the squad with three RBIs on the day while Gracyn McBride joined Gonzales with a pair of RBIs as well.
While the offense was potent, the pitching was suffocating. The pitching pair of Brooke Kennedy (15-3, 2.73 ERA) and Sara Hooten (8-3, 2.49 ERA) both picked up complete game victories while holding the Purple Aces around the Mendoza line in the batter’s box. Kennedy began the day by striking out eight and allowing two earned runs in the opener. Hooten then topped the senior by striking out eight while allowing zero earned runs.
Game 1: UT Martin 7, Evansville 2
UT Martin would strike first in the opening contest, saving the fireworks for the third inning of play. Savannah Dodson would start off the frame with a leadoff single into right center before being moved into scoring position by a single to right by Gonzales to extend her hitting streak to 10 games. With a pair of runners on base, McBride would bring the pair home with a two-run single up the middle. Rachel Williams would later add upon her OVC and team-leading RBI total with a groundout before Fulcher drove in the team’s fourth run of the inning with a single through the left side.
Evansville would crack the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. Morgan Florey would add upon her team-high home run total with a solo blast to left center, trimming the margin to three.
The Skyhawks looked to add upon the team’s lead in the top of the fifth. After a pair of outs to start the inning, Jodie Duncan would extend the scoring frame with an infield single to set up Fulcher for a two-run home run to left field. The Skyhawks would not be done in the frame however as Smith launched a solo home run of her own to left center, marking the first time the squad had tallied back-to-back home runs since the 2014 season.
Despite facing a six-run deficit heading into the final inning of play, Evansville pushed for one last rally. A leadoff triple to right field by Lambert would get the inning started before a single brought home the team’s second run of the contest by Luckett. With one run allowed in the inning, Kennedy would shut the door down the stretch to close the victory with a 7-2 decision.
Game 2: UT Martin 3, Evansville 1
After struggling to score runs in the first contest, Evansville looked to take a lead early in the second inning. Ashlee Kawall led off the bottom of the second with a bunt single before advancing to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. Another error would prove costly, this time an errant throw by the catcher, scoring the game’s first run.
UT Martin found the game’s equalizing run in the top of the fourth inning after trailing for the first time on the day. Junior Alicia Hansen would enter the contest as a pinch runner following a fielding error put the Skyhawks in action to leadoff the frame. Hansen wasted little time making her presence known, swiping second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch. With the runner just 60 feet away, Duncan would loft a sacrifice fly to center, bringing the tying run home to score.
Backed behind a strong pitching performance by Hooten, the Skyhawks would get all the offense they needed to secure the sweep with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Smith started the inning with a single to third base followed by a single by Jessie Douglas. With Smith scampering to third on the play, Douglas would join the junior in scoring position by swiping second base. With two runners in scoring position, Gonzales would bring the pair home after reaching on a throwing error, scoring the game’s final two runs and give the Skyhawks a 3-1 advantage.
UT Martin will return to Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend with a road doubleheader at Eastern Illinois on Friday, April 14. First pitch from Glenn & Joan Williams Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.