Skyhawks fight back, then falter
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:00 pm
CHARLESTON, Ill. — UT Martin made its second consecutive OVC Softball Tournament championship game appearance, but its quest for a second straight NCAA Tournament fell just short as the Skyhawks fell to No. 6 seed Jacksonville State 2-0 on Sunday afternoon.
UTM (37-20) was led with hits by Kayla Wade, Lauren Smith and Casey Vincent with one each.
Vincent toed the rubber for the Skyhawks, tossing five innings and striking out two while allowing two runs. Freshman Autumn Glenn pitched the sixth inning in relief, allowing just one hit.
The Skyhawks placed three players on the All-Tournament team as sophomores Kenzi Tate and Smith along with junior Wade received recognition for the superior play in their six games played.
“I’m so proud of the way our girls competed throughout this tournament,” said UT Martin head coach Donley Canary. “After dropping that first game, it makes for a very difficult path to even get to this point but this group of girls kept fighting and never gave up.
“When you look at the tournament that Kayla, Kenzi, Lauren and Deven had, you can’t help but be proud of those girls as they produced through the entire tournament. Look at Casey as she fought through an injury and completely gave her all for her team. Our group of seniors held the team together through the ups and downs of the season to bring us to this point and I tip my hat to Becca, Leah, and Katie. Our team is young and I believe they will get the taste of what championship play is like and we’ll be back.”
The Skyhawks and Gamecocks were locked in a strong pitchers’ duel from the beginning of the OVC Championship game. Neither pitcher yielded it’s first hit until the fourth inning as the Gamecocks’ Savannah Sloan led off with a single through the left side.
Vincent held tough for the Skyhawks as JSU stayed scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when a wild pitch gave JSU a 1-0 lead.
The Gamecocks added another run in the bottom of the sixth as a solo home run down the left field line chased Vincent from the game and gave JSU the eventual final of 2-0.
UTM needed four wins in elimination games to get to the title game after an opening round loss.
The Skyhawks beat Morehead State 5-2 on Friday, SIU-E 7-1 and Eastern Kentucky 4-3 on Saturday and Murray State 5-4 on Sunday.
Published in The WCP 5.14.13