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UT MARTIN SOFTBALL FINISHES THE REGULAR SEASON WITH SERIES WIN AT SEMO

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team played a spoiler this weekend, winning the season series against Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri with a decisive 6-3 victory in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon.

The Skyhawks finish the regular season with an overall record of 30-21, while finishing 15-12 in the OVC. The win also marked the program’s 30e win of the season as team of 2024 – under acting head coach Chelsea farmer – posted just the team’s second 30-win season in the past eight campaigns.

UT Martin now enters next week’s tournament field as the No. 5 seed. The 2024 OVC Softball Championship will be held May 8-11 at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria, Illinois. It is the first time the event has been held at the location and it will be the 30th OVC Softball Championship of all time.

The home team played a spoiler this weekend as Southeast Missouri entered the series on a nine-game conference winning streak and just one game out of first place in the program’s bid for back-to-back regular season championships. After the Redhawks took the series opener, the Skyhawks rallied in the final two games to steal the series and ultimately the team’s chance at another league title.

In their final home game at Bettye Giles Field, the team’s seniors scored nine of the team’s 10 goals. Anna Blanton led the team with a 3-for-3 afternoon at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI’s. Anna Hazlewood also played a key role with a 2-for-3 day at the plate while pitching three scoreless innings of relief to pick up her first save of the season.

Senior Kiersten Nixon helped her own cause by pulling double duty in the batter’s box and in the circle. In addition to earning the win with 4.0 innings of work, she also went 2-for-3 at the dish, becoming the team’s third person to post a multi-hit effort in the win.

 

Gallery: (5-5-2024) Softball vs. Southeast Missouri

Just like yesterday, SEMO was the first team to stand out after scoring two points in the opening frame. Back-to-back singles from Kat Sackett and Aubrie Shore drove home runs to give the Redhawks an early advantage.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the third inning, when the Skyhawks began their comeback attempt. A leadoff double by Hazlewood started the rally before pinch runner Kyla Harley came home and scored one pitch later on a single up the middle by Blanton. With the deficit cut in half, Blanton kept moving, advancing to third base on a groundout before racing home on a wild pitch to bring the score to two runs each.

With another game looming, the Skyhawks continued their strong rise by scoring two more runs in the fourth inning. Two singles from Nixon and Alli Robinson started the inning before back-to-back RBI singles from Hazlewood and Blanton gave the home team a 4-2 lead.

SEMO threatened with three hits in the top of the fifth inning, but was limited to just one run while the bases remained loaded. A single down the left field line by Marissa Peek cut the Skyhawks’ lead to one run before the UT Martin defense flexed its muscles with an out at the plate and a diving fly ball past Kaci Fuller to keep the one-point lead intact.

The Skyhawks found much-needed insurance in the sixth inning to extend their lead from one run to three. Fuller increased the team’s lead with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, followed by a pinch-hit single Annie Gutierrez brought home the team’s sixth and final run to score.

UT Martin will have a short turnaround before traveling north to the OVC Softball Championship. The Skyhawks will take on No. 8 seed SIUE in a win-or-go-home game on Wednesday, May 8 at 12:30 p.m.