UTM completes title run, then finishes off Panthers
Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 12:00 pm
Seniors Jenny Bain, Erica Duke and Chelsea Jones walked away from Bettye Giles Field Sunday afternoon in a better mood then they did Saturday when they clinched their second Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship for UT Martin.
The trio of seniors and their teammates celebrated a 5-4 victory over visiting Eastern Illinois, winning another OVC series this season, and avenging their four losses from a year ago and Saturday’s second game of the doubleheader.
“We just wanted revenge on EIU,” Bain said. “That second game (Saturday) wasn’t what we wanted.”
The Skyhawks won the first game of the doubleheader, 5-1, Saturday, but lost the second game 9-4. However, Austin Peay swept its doubleheader against Jacksonville State and the Skyhawks claimed the OVC regular season title.
“We wanted to earn our way,” Duke said.
The Skyhawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in bottom of the third inning when freshman Lauren Smith drew a bases-loaded walk.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Skyhawks added two more runs to their tally when freshman Kelsey Dixon drove in a run and junior Leah Taylor doubled down the left field line to plate Dixon.
EIU opened the fifth inning with Abby Wood’s pinch-hit solo home run. UT Martin answered the homer when freshman Kenzi Tate drove in a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning. It was Tate who drove in two runs with a pinch-hit double in Saturday’s 5-1 victory.
With a 5-1 advantage, EIU scored twice in the top of the sixth inning, but Jones worked her way out of a jam to record her 24th victory of the season.
Jones pitched seven innings, scattered seven hits and three earned runs. She gave up one walk and struck out five in the game to become UT Martin’s all-time strikeout leader.
“It means more to the team that we won,” Jones said. “I look at the strikeouts helping the team win.”
The Skyhawks are now 35-17 overall and 22-4 in the OVC and will close out the regular season Saturday and Sunday at Jacksonville State.
UTM 5, Eastern Ill. 1
The Skyhawks rallied for five runs in the fifth inning to claim the first game of the doubleheader 5-1. Senior Jenny Bain drove in the first two runs with a single to center field. Junior Becca Williams drew a bases-loaded walk and the Skyhawks led 3-1.
Tate, pinch-hitting for sophomore Stephanie Nidiffer, followed with a double to right center that plated Smith and Kristen Lackey.
Smith had two of the Skyhawks’ six hits in the game.
Jones pitched her 26th complete game of the season to improve to 23-7 in the circle. Jones scattered five hits and struck out five in the game.
Eastern Ill. 9, UTM 4
Eastern Illinois scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning en route to a 9-4 victory over the Skyhawks.
Trailing 6-1, UTM scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Becca Williams drove in two runs with a double down the left field line. The Skyhawks managed three hits in the sixth inning and left the bases loaded.
Eastern Illinois answered with three runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Panthers piled up eight hits and took advantage of four Skyhawk errors.
Published in The WCP 5.1.12