May 7, 2013

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The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team opens play in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament as the No. 5 seed when it takes on No. 4 Murray State Racers on Wednesday, May 8 at Williams Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

This marks the sixth consecutive season the Skyhawks have advanced to the OVC Tournament, while appearing in 11 of the past 12 and winning two league tournaments to advance to the NCAA Tournament under the direction of head coach Donley Canary, most recently in 2012.

UT Martin (33-18, 14-10 OVC) enter the postseason as winners of their last three games. That includes wins over OVC champion and tournament host Eastern Illinois (2-1 on April 28) and Southeast Missouri (11-9 and 14-5 on May 4).

The Skyhawks are paced by sophomore Kenzi Tate’s .359 batting average, 11 home runs and 48 RBIs. Classmate Lauren Smith is hitting a respectable .321 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Senior Leah Taylor leads the team with a program single-season record 39 stolen bases along with a .303 batting average, career-best nine home runs and 27 runs batted in. She ranks third on the OVC all-time steals list while being the ?rst player in conference history to hit over 25 career home runs and steal over 100 bases. Taylor was just recently named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District 3 first team for her outstanding accomplishments in the classroom.

Inside the circle, the Skyhawks rely heavily on LHP Casey Vincent (14-8, 2.40 ERA) and RHP Tate (17-5, 2.88 ERA) to carry the workload. Vincent leads the team with 26 starts, 18 complete games and two saves. Vincent has struck out 117 batters while only issuing 38 walks. Tate leads the team in wins and has tallied three shutouts. The sophomore duo has combined to pitch 299.1 of the teams’ 354.2 innings.