MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team used five runs in the fourth inning to propel the host Skyhawks to a 5-3 victory, earning an Ohio Valley Conference series split with Morehead State. Deven Wilson’s first career home run proved to be all that head coach Donley Canary needed to notch career win No. 400.
“We knew Morehead State would be a tough competitor and it doesn’t get any easier with the east division leader in Eastern Kentucky coming to town tomorrow,” said Canary. “At this point in the season, every win is important as we try to earn a spot into the conference tournament.”
“When I first came to UT Martin, we were just happy to come out here and compete, but those girls laid the ground work for our program as we’ve seen it grow. We’ve got better and better each year, as we broke through with conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances. We’ve worked very hard on changing the culture of the program, so when we step on the field we expect to win. I have tried to run this program as a first class Division I program and I credit our Athletic Director on providing us with the best facilities in the conference, allowing us to play at the highest level. 400 wins is a great round number and I hope to get a few more, but I credit that accolade to the quality of girls that I have had come through this program.”
Game One: Morehead State 4, UT Martin 0
The Skyhawks (30-13, 11-7 OVC) couldn’t muster enough hits to get past the powerful left hand of Morehead’s Katie Pfost. Morehead State began the game with a bang, quickly lacing a lead-off triple into right center. Sam Woodall then singled through the right side to score Adrena Anderson from third to take the 1-0 lead.
The Skyhawks threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Kayla Wade singled to the right side. Wade then swiped her 26th base of the season, moving into scoring position. Lauren Smith soon walked, placing runners on first and third. The Eagles then extinguished the threat, forcing a popout to end the inning.
The Eagles pushed across three runs in the top of the seventh, resulting in a 4-0 MSU victory.
Sophomore Casey Vincent was hit with the loss in the game, allowing four runs. Vincent registered her 15th complete game while registering seven strikeouts.
Game Two: UT Martin 5, Morehead State 3
Despite being outhit and shutout in the first 10 innings of the day, the Skyhawks rallied to win game two and force the series split with a 5-3 victory. While only tallying three hits in the first game of the twinbill, the Skyhawks quickly found their groove in game two, registering eight hits.
The Skyhawks thought they were in a moment of déjà vu as Morehead State jumped out to a quickly 3-0 lead before quickly changing the momentum of the game.
Leah Taylor led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a five-pitch walk. The senior All-American quickly showed her quick feet, scampering to second base and tallying her 35th steal on the season. Kenzi Tate then capitalized by reaching on an error by the pitcher as Smith followed with a walk to load the bases with no outs. Senior Becca Williams registered her second of three hits in the game, none of which bigger than the bases clearing double into the left field gap, scoring Taylor, Tate and Smith and bringing the game to a 3-3 tie. The Skyhawks would not be done in the inning as freshman Deven Wilson crushed her first career home run over the left field wall and into the protective net covering the scoreboard for the go-ahead two-run home run.
Both the Skyhawks and Eagles would threaten in the later innings, but the game ended with a water shower of coach Canary as the 12th year head coach notched his 400th career victory, 5-3.
In the circle, Tate was credited with her team-best 16th win, while pitching her 14th complete game on the season. Tate allowed just two earned runs and struck out five on the afternoon.
The Skyhawks will return to action tomorrow as they play host to OVC east division leader Eastern Kentucky. First pitch of tomorrow’s doubleheader is schedule for 1 p.m. from Bettye Giles Field.