MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team used a combined shutout and timely hitting to defeat Southeastern Conference foe Ole Miss 1-0 in the 2013 Bettye Giles Field home opener.
In a game which didn’t see a base hit until the top of the fourth, sophomore Casey Vincent (6-3, 2.04 ERA) pitched 5.1 innings, striking out three and allowing just one walk. Vincent surrendered just three hits on the afternoon, avenging an early season loss to the Rebels.
“Casey had great stuff in the circle and made it difficult for us to take her out, “ UT Martin head coach Donley Canary said. “In the previous game you saw her post a solid performance but fell victim to mental errors behind her. Today she provided the type of effort we expect and need from her.”
The Skyhawk offense pushed the only run of the game across the plate in the bottom of the fourth when sophomore Kenzi Tate blasted an RBI double to the left field fence, breaking up the no-hitter and shutout with one swing of the bat. Tate registered her second hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth when she hit a stinger into the right hole.
The Rebels threatened in the top of the fifth as they moved runners to first and third with one out. The Skyhawk defense held tight, catching the Ole Miss runner stealing home in an attempt to tie the game at one. Freshman Deven Wilson and Tate caught the Rebels’ Lindsey on the shoulder with the play at the plate, eliminating the threat.
Tate (8-1, 2.38 ERA) moved from third base to pitcher in the top of the sixth to relieve Vincent, pitching 1.2 innings and allowing just one hit to earn the team’s first save of the season.
“Kenzi is red hot at the plate and in my opinion the hottest player in the Ohio Valley Conference,” Canary said. “She continues to hit the ball hard. You saw her go 2-for-3, tally the winning run and in ideal conditions probably have a home run in the second.”
“Anytime you can defeat a team like Ole Miss, you have to proud of your effort. I thought the pitching was great and we’re just trying to find consistency in the box. We know it’s a long season and we’re still trying to find our identity as a team.”