May 12, 2013

CHARLESTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team brought the big bats to Williams Field to eliminate the Murray State Racers 5-4 in the OVC Tournament and clinching a berth in the second straight OVC Championship game to be played later today.

UT Martin (38-19) was led by Kenzi Tate who tallied a home run and four RBIs in the game. Deven Wilson paced the team with two base hits.

In the circle Tate (20-6) earned the victory pitching 4.1 innings and allowing three earned runs. Freshman Autumn Glenn appeared in relief, pitching 2.2 innings of scoreless softball while allowing just three hits.

Like many games this season, the Skyhawks got off to a bumpy start in the top of the first. The Racers began the inning with back-to-back singles before pulling off a double steal as the lead runner scored on a failed pickoff attempt. MSU pushed across another run in the inning on an infield hit, scoring the runner from third to take the early 2-0 lead.

Sophomore pitcher Kenzi Tate ramped up her production to help her own cause in the bottom half of the inning. After a single by Kelsey Dixon and a Kayla Wade walk, Tate launched her team leading 13th home run, adding three RBIs and breaking the single-season UTM RBI record with her 55th on the campaign.

UTM got back on the board in the third inning as Wade led off the inning with a double off the left field wall. After another sacrifice bunt by Leah Taylor moving Wade to third, Tate tallied her fourth RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Wade from third and pushing the Skyhawk advantage out to 4-2 after three.

The Racers strung together another big inning in the top half of the fourth inning as Troup fought off an abundance of foul balls to draw a walk before Sarah Anderson sailed the game tying two-run home run down the left field line.

The tie was short lives as sophomore Lauren Smith wasted little time in the bottom half of the inning giving the Skyhawks the lead back. After a pitching change by the Racers, Smith welcomed the reliever with a first pitch bomb down the left field line, Smith’s 11th of the year to give the Skyhawks the 5-4 lead.

Murray State threatened throughout the game but it wasn’t enough as they Skyhawks pulled out the narrow 5-4 victory advancing UTM into the OVC Tournament Championship. The Skyhawks will face off against Jacksonville State at 11:30 a.m. in Game 1 of the championship, as UTM must win two games to win the OVC Tournament championship.