After playing its first 24 games on the road, the University of Tennessee at Martin softball team will finally make its home debut at Bettye Giles Field on Wednesday, March 14 when playing host to regional foe Southern Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The Skyhawks (11-13) open the home portion of the 2018 schedule with the squad’s first mid-week matchup of the season when playing host to the Salukis on Wednesday afternoon. UT Martin is hoping to ride a positive string of momentum after winning four of six matchups through the team’s Spring Break swing through the state of Florida. The Skyhawks would equal its best offensive output of the season against Bethune-Cookman while their pitching staff tossed a pair of shutouts.
In the team’s strong road swing through Florida, senior Rachel Williams paced the squad with a .500 batting average, tallying a triple and a grand slam on the week while notching five RBIs. The Skyhawks hit a total of four home runs on the week, highlighted by Williams’ big blast while Gracyn McBride, Aalia Bivens and Alli Fulcher added to their season totals.
Freshman Caitlin Karo (6-3, 1.72 ERA) returned from an injury on her pitching hand to post three spectacular performances last week. Karo tallied three complete games while allowing just one earned run in 21 innings of work – notching a pair of shutouts in victories over Holy Cross and Manhattan. For the week, Karo allowed her opponents to notch just a .116 batting average and one extra-base hit. With her strong week, Karo lowered her season ERA from 2.45 to 1.72.
Southern Illinois (13-9) is coming off a strong showing at the USF Under Armour Showcase this past weekend, winning four of five games while outscoring its opponents 30-13. The Salukis are led offensively by the play of Maddy Vermejan who paces the squad with a .379 batting average while tallying four doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs. Meanwhile the pair of Jenny Jansen and Katelyn Massa has combined to tally nine home runs while driving in 30 RBIs. In the pitching circle, reigning MVC Pitcher of the Week Brianna Jones paces the squad with an 11-1 record and 1.82 ERA in 88.2 innings of work.
Wednesday marks the 21st meeting between the two programs in series history with Southern Illinois boasting a 14-6 record. The Salukis have won the last two matchups while the Skyhawks have won the past two matchups played at Bettye Giles Field, winning back-to-back matchups in 2012 and 2013.