Skyhawks storm past Peay in dominant weekend OVC sweep
Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 12:00 pm
UT Martin once again leaned on another dominating performance by sophomore pitcher Kenzi Tate and timely hitting throughout the lineup to give the Skyhawks a 5-2 softball victory over Ohio Valley Conference division rival Austin Peay Saturday.
UT Martin (23-9, 7-2 OVC) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a walk by Becca Williams. The senior quickly stole her second base of the season to move into scoring position with Jessie Britt at the plate. Britt rewarded Williams hustle by lacing an RBI double down the left field line to score Williams.
Speedster Kayla Wade, who in the first inning moved into a tie of third on the UTM all-time triples list, made the defense pay yet again in the bottom of the third after being hit by a pitch on the back. The junior proceeded to tally her fourth stole base of the series to move into scoring position when Leah Taylor crushed a line drive off the left field wall for an RBI double, giving UTM the 2-0 advantage after three.
Austin Peay (10-16, 1-7 OVC) soon responded in the top of the fourth as Lauren de Castro led off the inning with a single up the middle. Catcher Mel Pavel scored de Castro on an RBI double to left center which Bettye Giles Field narrowly held. Abby Guest helped her own cause as the pitcher tallied a double of her own to score the runner from second and knot the game at two.
The Skyhawks quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning to take control of the game as they pushed across two runs.
Lauren Smith, who has hit a commanding .579 in the last seven games, drove a liner into the right field gap resulting in a double. Williams then reached on an infield single off the glove of the diving shortstop to give the Skyhawks runners on second and third after she scampered to second on the throw into the infield.
Britt soon welcomed the new Lady Govs pitcher by dumping a single just inside the right field line to score pinch runner Kelsey Dixon from third. Britt and fellow freshman Rachel Scrum successfully pulled a double steal of second and home to bring the score to a 4-2 Skyhawk advantage after four innings of play. Britt finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
The Skyhawks tallied their fifth and final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth when two miscues by the APSU shortstop allowed Smith to cross the plate.
Tate (13-1, 2.48 ERA), the OVC’s leader in wins produced yet another gem as she limited the gutsy Lady Govs to just five hits on the day while allowing just two earned runs. She struck out five while allowing just one walk to notch her 12th win on the campaign.
“We’re playing great ball as our hitters and pitchers have come through when we’ve needed them. I really worked on my pitching in the offseason, just trying to really get comfortable with all of my pitches,” said Tate. “Any time we play a team in the conference, we expect to see the other team’s best, so it’s very rewarding to get the wins this weekend.”
UTM 8-4, APSU 5-3
After seven lead changes and over an hour rain delay prior to first pitch, the Skyhawks scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take control of the lead and result.
Skyhawks (22-9, 6-2 OVC) wasted little time welcoming the Lady Govs to Bettye Giles Field for the conference home-opener as streaking sophomore Lauren Smith smashed her team-leading seventh home run of the season over the center field fence, giving UTM the early 3-0 lead.
The Lady Govs (10-14, 1-6 OVC) quickly responded with a home run of their own off the bat of Shelby Norton to knot the game at three-all in the top of the second inning. APSU added another run in the top half of the third as Marissa Lake came home on an infield error.
Junior Kayla Wade continued to put her mark on the game after swiping a bag in the first inning, by plating Mikala Torrence on an RBI triple past the diving centerfielder to tie the score at 4-4 and move herself into fifth place on UTM’s all-time triples list.
The Skyhawks landed the knockout blow in the bottom of the sixth inning as Smith led off the inning with a liner into left field. That’s when the freshman trio of Jessie Britt, Devin Wilson and Torrence made their statement. Britt drilled an RBI double into center field, plating pinch runner Kelsey Dixon before scoring a run of her own off a screaming double from Wilson. Torrence tallied the seventh run of the game with an RBI, scoring Lindsey Feigl.
Wade added her second hit of the game before swiping her third base of the afternoon in a double steal of second and third, scoring Samantha McClure for the final run of the game.
Sophomore Casey Vincent (9-4, 2.08 ERA) proved to be too much for yet another opponent as the lefty tossed her 11th complete game on the season while allowing just two earned runs on six hits. Vincent struck out five while issuing just one walk on the afternoon.
Tate (12-1, 2.52 ERA) proved just how dynamic of a player the Skyhawks have as she went a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate while notching her league leading 12th win on the season in the circle. Tate tallied her ninth complete game while allowing just one earned run and striking out three.
Both teams traded runs for most of the contest, leading to five lead changes in the game. Game two looked very similar to the first as the Skyhawks got on the board first. Torrence led off the inning by reaching on an error by the third baseman before advancing to second on a walk to Wade. Tate helped her cause by stinging a single down the rightfield line to plate Torrence. Smith then followed with a single of her own to the left side, scoring Wade.
APSU once again responded in the top of the next inning by taking advantage of back-to-back errors to plate Kayla Davison and an infield RBI by Abby Guest to bring the game to a 2-2 score.
Senior All-American Leah Taylor quickly responded to APSU’s third inning score by launching a solo home run over the leftfield deck to tie the score at 3. Tate got her second hit of the game by doubling to left and eventually scoring off an RBI single up the middle by Becca Williams to take the 4-3 lead for the Skyhawks.
Published in The WCP 4.2.13