CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team wasted little time getting on the board, scoring in four of the seven innings while providing superior pitching in the circle as the Skyhawks eliminated SIU Edwardsville 7-1 in the consolation bracket of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
“We really hit the ball well up and down our lineup today,” said UT Martin head coach Donley Canary. “When you combine 12 hits and the pitching performance that we got out of Casey and Kenzi, we put ourselves in a great position to win and you saw that today. Defensively we were very sound and efficient, producing great results on the day.”
UT Martin set the tone to beginning the game, putting the first score on the board in top of the second. Sophomore Lauren Smith reached first on an error by the shortstop before classmate Lindsey Feigl stepped into the box. Feigl capitalized on the error, doubling to left center and scoring Smith from first to take the 1-0 lead.
The Skyhawks continued their power surge in the top of the third with a deep blast off the bat of Kenzi Tate. Kayla Wade began the inning with a double into right field before Leah Taylor drew a five-pitch walk. Tate entered the box with runners on first and second with one out. She then launched her 12th home run of the season, scoring three runs and extending the lead. UTM wasn’t done in the inning, as three consecutive base hits by Deven Wilson, Smith and Casey Vincent, scored pinch runner Mikala Torrence to give the Skyhawks the 5-0 lead after three.
UTM got back in the scoring column for the third consecutive inning in the fourth as Tayl
The Skyhawks continued their fierce hitting in the fifth innings as Wilson tallied her second hit of the game with a solo home run over the left field wall, extending the UTM lead to 7-0.
The Cougars added a run late but the comeback wasn’t enough as the Skyhawks defeated SIUE 7-1.
Casey Vincent (15-8) pitched brilliantly for the Skyhawks, tossing four scoreless innings while striking out five and allowing no walks. Vincent faced just 15 batters before having to leave the game with an apparent injury as Tate entered the game in the bottom of the fifth. Tate was just as efficient in relief, pitching three innings while registering one strikeout and allowing the only run of the game. Tate earned the her second save of the season.
Wade led the team with three hits while Taylor, Wilson and Smith each added two hits of their own. Tate paced the Skyhawks with three RBIs while Taylor, Wilson, Vincent and Feigl each added one.
The Skyhawks will advance to play No. 3 seed Eastern Kentucky this evening. First pitch from Williams Field is slated for approximately 5:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the winner’s bracket matchup between No. 4 seed Murray State and No. 6 seed Jacksonville State.