March 11, 2014

Game One: Boxscore          PDF                   Game Two: Boxscore          PDF

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team picked up a big 7-2 victory in its long awaited home opener over Saint Louis before seeing the Skyhawks dramatic comeback come up just short with a 4-3 setback.

After playing their first 21 games on the road, the Skyhawks (9-13-1) returned home for a mid-week doubleheader against familiar foe Saint Louis. The Skyhawks saw huge performances from a pair of underclassmen in freshman Gabby Glenn and sophomore Deven Wilson.

Glenn was perfect at the plate on the day, going 5-for-5 with a triple, two runs and a walk. Wilson provided the big punch on the day, tallying her first home run of the season while posting a .625 batting average and driving in three RBIs. Joining in the offensive performance was Samantha McClure who tallied a career-high three RBIs against the Billikens.

Inside the circle, freshman Elizabeth Wiegand (6-2) tallied her sixth win of her young career with a complete game. Wiegand tossed seven innings of work while striking out four, walking five and allowing two earned runs. Brooke Kennedy earned the start in game two, working four innings while striking out four and allowing two earned runs. Casey Vincent made her return to the rubber after battling through an injury, tossing three innings of work while allowing one earned run.

“We are still struggling to find our identity,” said softball coach Donley Canary. “We seemed to play very well in spurts, being able to string together big hits while pitching remained fairly consistent. We are still trying to cut down on our mistakes and put together back-to-back games.”

Game One: UT Martin 7, Saint Louis 2

The Skyhawks struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Looking to get a two-out rally started, Lauren Smith drew a walk before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Glenn and McClure would string together back-to-back singles to bring Zizzi around to score with a base knock to right field.

The Billikens would bring the game back to a tie in the top of the fourth inning. Kelsey Biggs drew a walk with one out before being moved to second on an infield single. Alex Nickel would bring Biggs around to score from second with an RBI single up the middle.

The fourth inning saw the Skyhawks tally their first of three consecutive innings with two runs scored. Taylor Manning reached base on an infield error to lead off the inning before Smith singled up the middle. Glenn would load the bases after reaching base on a sacrifice bunt which the Billikens couldn’t field, setting up McClure with the bases loaded. McClure would be hit by a pitch which resulted in a go-ahead run crossing the plate. The Skyhawks would tally their final run of the inning on an RBI fielder’s choice from Kelsey Dixon to score Glenn.

Saint Louis will get a run back in the top of the fifth off a pair of singles. After drawing a two-out walk, the Billikens strung together back-to-back singles which brought around Mackenzie Peter to score on a single up the middle by Biggs.

The Skyhawks were back in action in the bottom half of the fifth, as senior Stephanie Nidiffer led off the inning with a double to deep right center. Nidiffer would be pulled for pinch runner Carly Gonzales, who would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch following a single by Manning. Manning would navigate the bases before coming around to score herself, on a sacrifice fly by McClure.

UT Martin will make their final statement of game one in the bottom of the sixth inning. After senior Kayla Wade led off the inning with a bunt single, Wilson tallied her first home run of the season with a deep blast to left field, scoring the pair.

Wiegand got the win for the Skyhawks, notching her seventh complete game of the season while allowing just two earned runs.

Game Two: Saint Louis 4, UT Martin 3

Saint Louis tallied the first four runs of the game, scoring in three consecutive innings beginning in the third. Lindsay Friedman led off the third inning with a triple down the right field line before scoring on a groundout. The Billikens would tally home runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, both solo home runs by Nickel and Friedman. The visitors would push their lead out to 4-0, following an unearned run.

UT Martin would begin to chip away at the four run hole in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson would tally a one-out single to left field before being pulled for Zizzi, the pinch runner. Zizzi would quickly steal second before a walk by Kenzi Tate and an RBI by Gonzales would bring the speedster around to score.

The Skyhawks would not be done, going into the bottom of the seventh inning, trailing 4-1. Glenn got the Skyhawks going with a one-out walk, eventually coming around to score on a two-out RBI single by Wade through the left side. Wilson would strike yet again with a single into center field to score Dixon from second. With the Skyhawks trailing 4-3 and two outs, Tate stepped to the plate with the potential winning run standing at first. The win would prove not to be in the cards however, as the game ended on a fielder’s choice, giving the Billikens the victory.

Kennedy (1-1) would be credited with the loss after allowing two earned runs in four innings of work. She struck out four on the day while allowing one walk and five hits. Vincent appeared in relief after missing several games with an injury, tossing three innings of work. She tallied one strike out while allowing two walks and one earned run.

UT Martin will return to action this weekend as the Skyhawks open Ohio Valley Conference play with a three-game series at Murray State starting on Saturday, March 15 at 3 p.m.