KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team looked to improve in their final appearance of the Rebel Spring Games before returning home for the grit of the schedule. What head coach Donley Canary had hoped to see came to fruition as the Skyhawks split the final day and wrapped up the road trip with a 7-1 slate.
“This trip proved to be a great learning experience for our team,” Canary said. “Being able to get a young group together, work on on-field development and really see the team start to put things together will make us successful in the future. We were able to move players around and really begin to plug and fill holes within our depth chart.”
South Dakota 5 – UT Martin 2
Despite outhitting the Coyotes eight to five, the Skyhawks weren’t able to overcome the first two innings of the game, falling to South Dakota 5-2.
The top of the first saw South Dakota take an early 2-0 lead as Katie Dinning ignited the Coyote offense. Yvon Minogue double, plating one before Dinning scored on an RBI single by Morgan Hancock.
The Skyhawks didn’t stay down long, responding with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first when sophomore Kenzi Tate deposited her fifth home run over the fence, scoring Kayla Wade.
USD tacked on the winning run in the top of the second as Lindsey Boyd singled to left and eventually scoring on a passed ball to gain the 3-2 advantage, a lead that would not be relinquished as the Coyotes added two more runs in the fifth.
Freshman Autumn Glenn provided a bright spot in relief as the young right-hander pitched two perfect innings in the circle, holding South Dakota hitless and walking none.
UT Martin 6 – Niagara 1
One of the major developments out of the Rebel Spring Games has been the emergence of freshman Jessie Britt on the base-paths and into the starting lineup as Britt went 2-for-2, sparking the Skyhawks to a 6-1 victory over Niagara.
UT Martin relied on the arm of Tate (8-1, 3.31 ERA) as the young gun allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings of work. Tate struck out three while allowing only three walks on the afternoon.
After Niagara added one in the first, senior Becca Williams responded in the top of the second with an RBI single into center, scoring Tate.
The lead stayed on the Skyhawks’ side after a four-run outburst in the top of the fifth, plating four. Stephanie Nidiffer started the fireworks with a double to right before Sam McClure scored on an RBI double by Britt. Speedster Wade drilled a triple into right field which plated Britt and Kelsey Dixon. Sophomore Lauren Smith added the final run with a single up the middle scoring Wade.
The Skyhawks registered the final run of the day in the top of the seventh inning as Tate drove in Leah Taylor with a sacrifice fly.