February 23, 2014

Game One:  Boxscore           PDF                  Game Two:  Boxscore           PDF

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team completed its appearance in the Ole Miss Red and Blue Classic by dropping a pair of decisions against Bowling Green (2-0) and host Ole Miss (3-2) on Sunday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (4-8-1) were led by the play of senior Stephanie Nidiffer who tallied two hits in her five plate appearances, driving in both runs on the day. Freshman Carly Gonzales joined Nidiffer with a pair of base hits on the afternoon, along with a pair of walks.

The duo of Kenzi Tate and Elizabeth Wiegand earned starts inside the circle this afternoon, holding the opposition to just a .200 batting average and posting a combined 2.69 ERA. Tate (2-3) tossed a complete game, striking out four while allowing just two earned runs. Wiegand (2-1) tossed six innings of work against Ole Miss, striking out a pair while allowing three earned runs.

Game One: Bowling Green 2, UT Martin 0

The Skyhawks made a push in the bottom of the third inning. Nidiffer led off the inning with a walk before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Kayla Wade would move Zizzi to second following a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman. After issuing a walk to Gonzales with one out, the Falcons pulled their starter for reliever Jamie Kertes. Kertes would make quick work of the Skyhawk threat, retiring the next two batters with groundouts to the right side.

Bowling Green would leave its mark on the game in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs on two hits. After leading off the inning with a walk, the Falcons moved its runner to second with a successful sacrifice bunt. Following the innings’ second walk, the Falcons tallied back-to-back singles to short, scoring a pair of runs to take the lead.

The Skyhawks would put together their best chance to take command of the game in the bottom half of the fifth. With one out, Wade and Gonzales would string together consecutive singles, placing the pair on first and second. Bowling Green would once again extinguish the threat, converting on a pair of groundouts to the left side of the infield. The inning would prove to be the final scoring threat for the Skyhawks, dropping the 2-0 decision.

Tate (2-3) got the loss in the contest, notching a complete game with seven innings in the circle. Tate tallied four strikeouts while issuing seven walks and allowing two earned runs.

Game Two: Ole Miss 3, UT Martin 2

For the third consecutive game, the Skyhawks and Rebels played a close game, having each of their past three games decided by one run. Ole Miss struck first in the bottom of the second inning with three runs, placing the Skyhawks in an early hole. With runners on first and second, Alyssa Invergo hit an RBI single up the middle to put the Rebels on the board. With two outs, Jamie Morgan would bring across a pair of runs with a two-RBI double down the left field line.

Neither team would get much going in the middle innings until the Skyhawks made their push in the top of the sixth inning. Still down by three, the Skyhawks had their first two batters retired before pushing across a pair of runs. Casey Vincent would tally a single into left field before Gonzales lined another single through the left side. Freshman classmate Taylor Manning would keep the rally going with a single to left field, setting up Nidiffer with the bases loaded and two outs. The senior would come through in the clutch as Nidiffer singled to right center, scoring both Vincent and Gonzales to trim the advantage to 3-2.

The Skyhawks would make a final push in the top of the seventh as Tate laced a single down the left field line, but the victory would not be in the cards as Ole Miss ended the game on a fly out to left field to secure the 3-2 victory.

Wiegand was credited with the loss against the Rebels, tossing six innings of work while allowing three earned runs. She tallied two strikeouts on the afternoon while issuing just one walk.

UT Martin will appear in its fourth non-conference tournament at the UCF Holiday Inn Tournament beginning on Saturday, March 2-3. The Skyhawks will open tournament play against Princeton at 8 a.m.