Archive | March, 2014

Southeast Missouri tops UT Martin 11-1

Southeast Missouri tops UT Martin 11-1

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team matched Ohio Valley Conference leader Southeast Missouri pitch for pitch through six innings before the Redhawks used a late surge to claim an 11-1 win at Skyhawk Field this afternoon.

The Skyhawks (3-22, 2-10 OVC) were in the game early thanks to a great start by Alex Martin, who departed the game with UT Martin trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning. Martin would ultimately receive the hard luck loss after allowing four runs on five hits over 6.1 frames.

Offensively, Taylor Cox tallied an RBI while Kenny King scored UT Martin’s lone run. The Skyhawks were stymied for the third straight game against the Southeast Missouri pitching staff, as UT Martin could only muster a pair of hits on the day.

Southeast Missouri (17-10, 10-2 OVC) was led by first baseman Matt Tellor, who went 4-for-5 with three home runs, four runs scored and five RBI’s. Spot starter Alex Winkelman earned the win after allowing two hits over six innings.

The Redhawks got on the scoreboard first thanks to a two-out solo homer by Tellor in the top of the first. Martin then got through a scoreless second to help the Skyhawks tie the contest in the bottom of the frame.

King laced a one-out double into the gap in left center to give UT Martin its first baserunner of the game. King then advanced to third on a passed ball and would come in to score on an RBI groundout off the bat of Cox.

Tellor once again gave Southeast Missouri the lead in the top of the third, recording his second solo homer of the contest.

Martin would then find a groove, as he shut out the high-powered Redhawk offense over the next three innings. His best work came in the top of the sixth when Southeast Missouri began the frame with a double and a walk but Martin bounced back to strand both runners and keep the score at 2-1.

Southeast Missouri then broke the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh, including a three-run homer by Tellor immediately following a Skyhawk pitching change.

The Redhawks added three runs in the top of the eighth and although UT Martin would load the bases in the bottom half of the frame, the Skyhawks could not break through for a run.

Southeast Missouri would then add a run in the top of the ninth to wrap up the 11-1 win.

UT Martin now travels to take on No. 5 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, April 1. First pitch time from Hawkins Field is set for 6:30 p.m.

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Vandy takes Series from UK with 6-2 win

Vandy takes Series from UK with 6-2 win

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen


Fifth-ranked Vanderbilt used a two-run home run from John Norwood in the bottom of the fifth inning and got a great pitching performance from Tyler Ferguson to post a 6-2 win over No. 17 Kentucky in the rubber match of the series, on a perfect Sunday afternoon in front of 2,869 at Charles Hawkins Field.

Kentucky (19-9, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) and Vanderbilt battled in a series that marked the first time in UK history that the Wildcats have faced top-five teams in back-to-back weekends, with rankings dating back to 2003. Last weekend UK won a series vs. No. 1 South Carolina in Lexington, before traveling to No. 5 Vanderbilt for its third weekend of SEC play. After UK won the series opener on Friday in Nashville, 4-2, the Dores evened up the series with a 9-3 win on Saturday.

The Wildcats got the rubber match scoring started in the top of the third inning, before Norwood cranked a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth for a lead. Vanderbilt then got a leadoff double and an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 3-1 lead. UK rallied with a run in the top of the seventh to chase Ferguson but a three-base error and three hits for the Dores in the eighth inning stretched the lead to 6-2. The Dores used a combination of flame-throwing righties Adam Ravanelle and Carson Fulmer in relief to clinch the win.

UK starter Andrew Nelson (1-2) worked 5.2 innings, allowing five hits and three runs, walking three and striking out two. Nelson carried a one-hit shutout into the bottom of the fifth inning, before Norwood struck for the go-ahead homer.

Nelson was relieved an out shy of a quality start in the sixth inning by freshman lefty Logan Salow, who got an out to strand the runner. Salow worked an inning, allowing a walk and striking out one. Freshman righty Zack Brown came on with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting one out. Sophomore Dylan Dwyer entered in a jam in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and no outs. Dwyer got two outs, allowing one hit and one unearned run. Spencer Jack came on to get the final out of the eighth.

UK was led offensively by a career-high 3-for-3 game from freshman JaVon Shelby, who added a double. UK got singles from Kyle Barrett, Austin Cousino, Max Kuhn and Micheal Thomas, with Ka’ai Tom singling twice.

Ferguson (5-0) worked over six innings, allowing six hits and two runs, not issuing a walk and striking out five. He was replaced with a runner on first and no outs by Ravennelle, who got out of the jam with three quick outs. Ravenelle worked 1.2 innings, allowing two hits and no runs, striking out one. Fulmer got the final four outs of the game, including stranding the game-tying run at third with two outs in the eighth, to pick up his eighth save of the year.

UK will return to action on Tuesday, hosting No. 10 Louisville for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be televised live on the UK IMG Network, with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn and Brian Milam calling the action. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the game.

Kentucky got on the board first in the top of the third inning, starting with a one-out single from Shelby, who drilled a 94 mph fastball up the middle. Barrett followed with a single into left-centerfield, with Shelby taking third and Barrett called out on a bang-bang play at second base. With Cousino at the plate, Ferguson tried to pickoff Shelby at third base, with the throw going down the leftfield line to allow Shelby to score the first run of the game. Cousino then singled to leftfield to make the run earned and after a stolen base was left stranded at second base.

Vanderbilt (23-6, 5-4 SEC) took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Jason Delay singled to rightfield with one out. John Norwood then drilled the first pitch of the at-bat over the left-centerfield fence for his first homer of the year and a 2-1 VU lead.

Vanderbilt added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth inning as Dansby Swanson cranked a double off the 40-foot wall in leftfield, taking third on a productive groundout to the right side. With the infield in and one out, Vince Conde drilled a RBI single to leftfield to score Swanson.

The Wildcats got a run back in the top of the seventh inning as Thomas led off with a single to centerfield. After a throwing error on a pickoff attempt moved Thomas to second base, Tom singled down the rightfield line to score Thomas and cut the lead to 3-2. Wilson then laid down a bunt, with Ravenelle attempting to go to second to get the lead runner on a bang-bang play that prompted an argument from UK head coach Gary Henderson. Reida then hit into an inning-ending double play.

UK had its best chance to even up the game in the top of the eighth inning as UK got singles from Shelby and Kuhn off Ravenelle with two outs. That brought up A.J. Reed – the SEC leader in RBI – to the plate to face Fulmer, who dropped two breaking balls in for strikes, before painting the inside corner with a 95 mph fastball.

Vanderbilt mounted a rally in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the speedy Swanson singled on a ball chopped off the plate, with Kuhn appearing to have to call a fair catch to wait on the ball to come into his glove. Bryan Reynolds then faked a sacrifice bunt, before slashing a ball up the middle with the UK defense crashing on the bunt, allowing Swanson to take third base with no outs. UK turned to Dwyer, who allowed a single off the diving glove of Tom in leftfield. Zander Wiel then laid down a sacrifice bunt, with UK’s throw going into rightfield for a three-base error, allowing two more runs to score.

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Maryland tops Lady Vols in Sweet Sixteen

Maryland tops Lady Vols in Sweet Sixteen

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen

Lady Vols

Tennessee’s season came to a close with a 73-62 loss to #4 seed Maryland on Sunday in the Sweet 16 at the KFC Yum! Center. The Lady Vols finished 2013-14 with a 29-6 record. Maryland (27-6) advances to the Elite Eight.

Alyssa Thomas scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as fourth-seeded Maryland upset No. 1 seed Tennessee 73-62 on Sunday in the Louisville Region semifinal at the KFC Yum! Center.
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Skyhawks split doubleheader with SIU Edwardsville

Skyhawks split doubleheader with SIU Edwardsville

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team struggled in the series opener against Ohio Valley Conference foe SIU Edwardsville on Sunday afternoon, dropping Game One 7-2, before fighting back for a decisive 9-2 victory to split the doubleheader.

The Skyhawks (15-16-1, 5-3 OVC) scored 11 runs on the day, including nine in second game of the day. Lauren Smith tallied the lone home run of the day, including four walks. Kelsey Dixon tallied three hits on the day, driving in a pair of runs. Samantha McClure tallied three-RBIs on the afternoon while Carly Gonzales and Stephanie Nidiffer also tallied multi-RBI games with two apiece.

Casey Vincent (3-4) earned a victory in the circle, allowing two earned runs in seven innings of work. Vincent struck out four while allowing one walk and holding the Cougars to a .154 batting average. Elizabeth Wiegand (9-4) picked up the loss after allowing four earned runs in seven innings of work. Wiegand struck out seven while walking one but allowed the Cougars to post a .281 average.

Game One: SIUE 7, UT Martin 2

SIUE struck first in the top of the second inning off three Skyhawk errors. The leadoff batter reached on an infield error before eventually coming around to score on the second error of the inning. Brittany Toney would tally an RBI single down the right field line to give the Cougars an early 2-0 lead. The Cougars would add another run on an error before Jordan LaFave singled to right field scoring a pair and extending the SIUE lead out to 5-0.
The Cougars would strike again in the top of the third inning to extend their lead. Haley Chambers would lead off the third inning with a walk before coming around to score on an RBI double into center field off the bat of Whitney Lanphier.

The Skyhawks would finally bust into the hit column in the bottom of the third. Smith would lead off the inning with a seven-pitch walk before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Zizzi wasted little time making her presence known, swiping second base. Zizzi would come around to score two batters later as Dixon would single to left center, cutting into the Cougars margin.

SIUE would look to get its advantage back to six in the top of the fourth inning. Chelsea Yankolovich and Allison Smiley would both tally outfield singles, putting runners on first and third with two outs. Chambers would use a well-placed bunt single back to the pitcher to score Yankolovich, giving the Cougars the 7-1 advantage after four innings.

UT Martin would tally their second and final hit of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning off the bat of Smith. Following a leadoff strikeout, Smith would smoke a solo home run, her fifth of the season, off the left field scoreboard. The run would bring the Skyhawks to a 7-2 deficit, the game’s final score.

Game Two: UT Martin 9, SIUE 2

Much like in Game One, the Cougars struck first. SIUE tallied two hits in the opening half inning, tallying one run on a groundout from Chambers to the pitcher to take the early 1-0 lead.

The script quickly flipped in the bottom half of the first as the Skyhawks exploded for six runs on five hits. Dixon led off the inning with a single up the middle before advancing to second a wild pitch. Kenzi Tate and Deven Wilson tallied consecutive walks to load the bases with just one out. Nidiffer would score both Dixon and Tate on a two-RBI single into right field to take the early 2-1 lead, the Skyhawks first of the series. Nidiffer would have Zizzi appear to pinch run in her place, as Zizzi picked up her second stolen base of the day to move into scoring position. Zizzi’s time at second would be short as Gonzales doubled through the left side to score both Zizzi and Wilson.

McClure would keep her promising day going with a single through the left side to score Gonzales before the inning would end following an RBI groundout by Dixon. Skyhawks had a total of 11 plate appearances in the bottom of the first inning to go along with a 6-1 lead.

The Skyhawks would strike again in the bottom of the third inning. Gonzales would lead off the inning with a single through the left side, before coming around to score on an RBI groundout by McClure. After reaching base following a walk, Smith would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch to stretch the Skyhawks lead out to a game-high 8-1 advantage.

SIUE would tally its second run of the game in the top of the sixth inning. Smiley doubled to left field with one out, before advancing to third on an error on the following play. Smiley would come around to score on a groundout by Chambers, trimming the Skyhawk margin to an 8-2 deficit.

UT Martin would strike once more in the bottom of the sixth inning. A combination of a single, a hit by pitch and an error left McClure at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. McClure would battle through a seven pitch at bat before being struck by a pitch, scoring the Skyhawks final run.

The Skyhawks will return to action on Wednesday, April 2 when they travel to play Evansville in a doubleheader. Action is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m.

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Sounds Announce Tentative Opening Day Roster

Sounds Announce Tentative Opening Day Roster

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen


The Nashville Sounds – the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers – have announced their tentative Opening Day 28-man roster, a group highlighted by three of the organization’s top 10 prospects, 15 returning players from the 2013 squad, and 11 members of Milwaukee’s 40-man roster.

Nashville will have to make three roster moves by Thursday’s opener to get to the 25-man active limit.

The Sounds’ roster is heavy on experience. All but four of the team’s members have big league experience under their belts in their careers, and fifteen of the 28 players on the Nashville roster played in the majors in 2013. Only pitchers Kyle Heckathorn and Dustin Molleken and infielders Hunter Morris and Stephen Parker have yet to make their major league debuts.

Right-handed starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson, rated as the Brewers’ top prospect by Baseball America, highlights the Nashville starting rotation on the heels of an impressive 2013 campaign. He led the Brewers organization and ranked 5th in the minors with 163 strikeouts in 152 1/3 innings between Huntsville and Nashville, posting a 3.25 ERA in 27 starts, before advancing to Milwaukee in September to make his major league debut.

Joining Nelson in the Sounds’ rotation is Johnny Hellweg, the 2013 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. The Brewers’ #4 prospect was dominant for Nashville a year ago in earning All-PCL honors. The 6-foot-9 fireballer — playing his first season at the Triple-A level — ranked 2nd in the PCL in wins (12) and ERA (3.15) while posting the top winning percentage (.706) and lowest opponent average (.228) among all league hurlers.

Morris, who was voted as the 2013 Sounds Fan Favorite and ranks as the Brewers’ #10 prospect entering the year, returns for his second season in Music City after belting a team-best 23 home runs to rank second among PCL sluggers and also leading Nashville with 73 RBIs.

Hellweg will serve as Nashville’s Opening Day starter and be followed in the five-man rotation by Nelson, right-hander Hiram Burgos, right-hander Ariel Pena, and right-hander Mike Fiers. Of that group, all have previously appeared for the Sounds except Pena, who was a Southern League midseason All-Star at Double-A Huntsville last year after being acquired from the Angels in the July 2012 Zack Greinke trade.

Fifteen players return to Music City from the 2013 Sounds squad, including starting pitchers Burgos, Fiers, Hellweg, and Nelson; relievers Alfredo Figaro, Donovan Hand, Heckathorn, Molleken, and 2013 PCL All-Star Rob Wooten; catcher Robinzon Diaz; infielders Morris, Parker, and Eugenio Velez, who finished 2013 with a PCL-best 36-game on-base streak that included a season-ending 22-game hit streak; and outfielders Caleb Gindl, who ranks among Nashville’s top 10 career leaders in hits and doubles, and Sean Halton, the Sounds’ 2012 MVP who split last year between Nashville and Milwaukee.

Another recognizable face returns to Music City: infielder Taylor Green, who spent parts of the 2011 & 2012 seasons in a Sounds uniform and captured Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year and All-PCL honors following a stellar season for the club in 2011. He has appeared in 197 games for Nashville in his career, posting a .311 average. Green missed the entire 2013 season due to a hip injury.

Notable new additions to the Brewers organization who will join the Sounds this season are veteran infielders Irving Falu, Elian Herrera, and Pete Orr, as well as outfielder Jeremy Hermida.

Falu is a .278 career hitter who spent his first 11 years in the Kansas City Royals system, including stops at Greer Stadium with Triple-A Omaha in each of the past five years. The versatile infielder/outfielder was a member of the Storm Chasers’ PCL championship clubs in 2011 & 2013.

The versatile Herrera, who has played every position except catcher during his pro career, is a .280 lifetime hitter who joins the Sounds after spending his first 11 years in the Dodgers organization, including 197 games in the PCL with Albuquerque over the past four seasons.

Orr, a 15-year veteran, has logged time in the bigs in eight of the last nine years, including making five Opening Day rosters during that stretch. He is another versatile player, appearing at five different positions last year (2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF).

Hermida, a 13-year pro and former top prospect in the Marlins’ system who carries a .281 lifetime minor league average, has logged 632 major league games while appearing in the big leagues in eight of the past nine campaigns.

Manager Rick Sweet enters his first season at the helm of the Sounds and will be joined by a coaching staff that remains intact from 2013: coach Bob Skube, pitching coach Fred Dabney, trainer Aaron Hoback, and strength and conditioning coach Andrew Emmick.

The Sounds begin their 2014 Pacific Coast League season on Thursday, April 3, in Omaha, Nebraska, where they kick off an eight-game road trip with their 7:05 p.m. opener against the defending PCL champion Storm Chasers. On Friday, April 11, the Sounds return to Greer Stadium to host Omaha in their 7:05 p.m. home opener.

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WKU Softball tops UT Arlington 4-2

WKU Softball tops UT Arlington 4-2

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen

WKU Softball

The Western Kentucky University softball team (23-10-1, 6-0) stays undefeated in Sun Belt Conference while increasing its win streak to a season-long seven games after a 4-2 win in game three versus UT Arlington (14-21, 0-5) at Allen Saxe Field on Sunday.

Freshman Hannah Miniard (11-3) pitched another great game after throwing a no-hitter on Saturday, as she allowed the Mavericks four hits and two earned runs while walking three and striking out a season-high 12 batters. Five of her strikeouts came as the final out of an inning while Miniard caught nine batters looking in the contest.

UTA went with a trio pitchers as starter Callie Collins (7-9) took the loss after giving up three hits and three runs with only one earned in four innings of action. Shannon Carrico was the only pitcher to hold WKU scoreless in her two innings with no hits, one walk and one strikeout.

WKU’s top three batter in the lineup were the only ones to collect hits with senior Olivia Watkins and junior Shawna Sadler with two each while junior Preslie Cruce tabbed the other. Sophomores Brooke Holloway and Bethany Oglesby also reached base by walk and error, respectively.

A quick 1-0 started the game for WKU after Cruce reached base on a fielding error. She moved to second on a Watkins bunt before scoring the lone run after Sadler’s hit went to center where the fielder had trouble bringing it, causing a second error for the Mavs.

The lead increased to 3-0 in the third after Cruce and Watkins scored on a RBI single from Sadler. Miniard was able to hold the Mavs scoreless through 9.2 innings before a home run shot from Nina Villanueva cut WKU’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom third.

WKU cushioned its lead in the fifth, as Cruce opened the inning with a double down the right field line. Watkins followed by trading places with Cruce after putting a double to left center and setting the score at 4-2.

The Lady Toppers are back in action on Wednesday, April 2 as they host regional rival Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. at the WKU Softball Complex. WKU then welcomes nationally-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette for a SBC weekend series.

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Lipscomb spanks USC Upstate 11-4

Lipscomb spanks USC Upstate 11-4

Posted on 30 March 2014 by Allen


Propelled by 17 hits, the Lipscomb baseball team wasted little time jumping on USC Upstate in the rubber match at Harley Park Sunday to get an 11-1 victory and take the series against the Spartans.

“It was a good win for our team,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “We started off leaving a few runners on base, but the guys knew that if they kept getting good at-bats, the runs were going to come.

“The top and bottom of our lineup had a good day at the plate, driving in runs when we needed them. Today was a great all-around offensive performance.”

The win improved the Purple and Gold to 18-11 and 7-2 in league play, while Upstate fell to 10-19, 2-7 in the Atlantic Sun.

Upstate freshman pitcher Zac Manuppelli struggled with his control early, walking Jonathan Allison and Grant Massy to start the game. Drew Adams then laid down his first bunt of the season that rolled up the third base line for an infield single to load the bases.

Tyson Ashcraft hit a blooper over the pitcher’s head to bring in Allison for Lipscomb’s first run of the day and take the lead 1-0.

The only trouble in what was a relatively easy day for Bisons hurler Denton Norman was in the bottom of the second when Daniel Seeba blasted an opposite-field solo home run over the right field fence to tie the game 1-1.

“Denton was sharp today,” Forehand said. “He made one mistake giving up the homerun while behind in the count, but after that he was solid. He was in the zone and the defense continued to make plays behind him.

“I can’t say enough about our starting pitching and what he did for us today.”

Lipscomb plated two runs in the third on three consecutive hits. Designated hitter Griffin Moore drew a two-out walk. He then was moved over on the first of Adam Lee’s three hits on the day. Mike Korte brought Moore across the dish with a single to right. Redshirt freshman Tyler Bethune doubled down the left field line to score Adam Lee and give Lipscomb a 3-1 lead.

Adam Lee began the fifth inning with a base hit. After a balk and two quick outs, Allison, Massey and Adams connected on three straight RBI-hits to extend Lipscomb’s lead to 6-1.

The Purple and Gold tacked on four runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

The Bisons had five players on the afternoon collect multiple base hits and seven different players drove in runs. Massey led the team at the dish, going 4-for-5 with an RBI and a walk. Massey also scored two runs in the game.

The top of the lineup in Allison, Massey and Adams combined to 10 hits, six runs, four RBIs and two walks.

“We hope that continues,” Forehand said. “Those guys are in the top of the order to produce and we expect that out of them every time we go to play.”

Norman got the win and took his record to 4-1 on the year. He gave up just four hits while allowing one run with one punch out and three walks.

Jason Ziegler saw his first work of the weekend after taking over for Norman in the eighth. He worked the last two innings, recording two strikeouts and giving up one hit.

Manuppelli took the loss and dropped to 3-3. In three innings, the freshman gave up six hits and three runs with four walks and one strikeout.

The Bisons have gone 17-4 since getting off to a 1-7 start to the season. Forehand talks about his team’s ability to stay in the moment and how they have turned the season around after a slow start.

Lipscomb returns to the diamond for a mid-week clash at Western Kentucky on Tuesday Apr. 2. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. in Bowling Green, Ky.

“It’s a conglomeration of what we do every day in practice,” Forehand said. “The guys carry a spirit that shows what we are about as a team and I think they have really taken that team concept to the next level.

“The bottom line is we are winning series. When we have a chance to take a series, we come out ready and prepared to play. Today we had that chance and took advantage of it.”

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Skyhawks steal home and a win from Ole Miss

Skyhawks steal home and a win from Ole Miss

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team used a play hardly seen to knock off Southeastern Conference opponent Ole Miss on Tuesday evening, successfully using a steal of home to register the 3-2 victory at Bettye Giles Field.

The Skyhawks (14-15-1) tallied two early runs on the evening, but saw their lead dwindle in the late innings, forcing a sneak tactic which gave the home team the slim one run victory. The win marks the sixth consecutive matchup between UT Martin and Ole Miss which has been determined by one run, dating back to 2003.

Five players tallied base hits for the Skyhawks as Kayla Wade, Kenzi Tate, Stephanie Nidiffer, Samantha McClure and Taylor Manning scratched into the hit column. Tate and Nidiffer both tallied consecutive RBIs in the first inning.

UT Martin used three pitchers to pick up the victory, led by the play of Tate who earned the start. Tate pitched four shutout innings in which she struck out three and walked one. Brooke Kennedy appeared in relief in the fifth inning, allowing two earned runs in 1.2 innings of work. Freshman standout Elizabeth Wiegand (9-3) picked up the victory on the evening, tossing 1.1 innings of shutout ball.

“Tonight you saw the type of team that we know we can be,” said UT Martin coach Donley Canary. “We have the ability to play with anyone in the country when we remain focused and do the little things right. Today we came to play in harsher conditions than normal this time of year, kept our focus and came away with the victory.”

Ole Miss (19-15) was led by Miranda Strother who tallied two hits in three appearances. The Rebels leading hitter, RT Cantillo tallied one hit in three at bats, along with the game-tying base hit in the sixth inning. Pitcher Lauren Lindsey allowed one earned run, the game=winning run, in 6.2 innings of work.

The Skyhawks struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Dixon led off the inning by reaching on an infield error. Dixon would quickly steal second before being moved over to third on an infield out. Tate would connect on the first pitch of the ensuing at bat by ripping a double right over the extended hand of the shortstop to score Dixon and take the early lead. With Tate stationed at second, Nidiffer extended the inning with a single up the middle to plate the second run of the inning.

UT Martin would threaten again in the bottom of the fourth inning after Tate reached on an error. Tate would be pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi who made quick work of a sacrifice bunt, moving first to third on a sacrifice by Nidiffer. Zizzi would look to score on a slow chopper by Glenn, but would be nailed at the plate for the second out, eliminating the Skyhawk threat.

Ole Miss would tie the game up in the top of the sixth inning. Alyssa Invergo would get the rally started with a one out infield single. The Rebels would string another hit before a pair of walks not only loaded the bases, but brought a runner around to score. With the margin cut in half, RT Cantillo laced a single up the middle to tie the game at two after six innings of play.

With the game tied heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, Manning laced a hard grounder to the left side which kicked into the air. Manning would move into scoring position after successfully swing second base before being moved over to third on a groundout. Manning would not be done however, quickly darting towards home plate following the return throw from the catcher to the pitcher, sliding under the tag for the game winning run. The two steals by Manning were the first steals of her career.

The Skyhawks will look to ride the momentum of today’s action into this weekend when they play host to Ohio Valley Conference rival SIU Edwardsville with a three-game series on Saturday, March 29. Game one of the doubleheader scheduled for Saturday is scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m.

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Raiders rally past Lipscomb in eighth inning

Raiders rally past Lipscomb in eighth inning

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Allen

mtsu bb

Middle Tennessee plated a couple of runs in the eighth inning to rally past Lipscomb 7-5 on Tuesday evening at Reese Smith Field.

The Blue Raiders (10-13) capitalized on a pair of Lipscomb (16-10) wild pitches in the eighth, allowing Brad Jarreau and Ryan Stephens to score the go-ahead runs. Freshman hurler Caleb Smith did not allow a hit in 1.1 innings tossed to improve to 2-0 this season. Right-hander Heath Slatton tossed a scoreless ninth to collect his first save of the year.

Middle Tennessee posted seven runs on seven hits, despite committing four errors. Lipscomb allowed five runs on five hits with two miscues. A total of nine wild pitches were thrown between the two teams.

Stephens led MT with 2-for-4 performance, scoring two runs, driving in a run and reaching on base with a walk. Dustin Delgado added two runs off a hit with a RBI and a walk. Senior Trent Miller extended his hit streak to 12 games with a double in the second inning.

In the first inning, Stephens roped a double to left field, scoring Delgado. Delgado’s single in the third scored King to give the Raiders a 2-0 edge. Delgado would score two at bats later from a two-out double off the bat of Miller.

Adam Lee and Drew Adams scored a pair of runs for the Bisons, making it 3-2 contest. Lipscomb tied the game in the top of the fourth with a RBI single from Griffin Moore, allowing Grant Massey to reach home.

In the bottom of the fifth, MT regained the lead as Hank LaRue’s single scored Stephens to put the Raiders up 4-3. The Raiders extended the edge to two with a run scored from Allen. Lipscomb’s Massey scored to chip away the game at 5-4 in the top of the seventh. Two batters later, Adams plated the tying run with a wild pitch. Adams finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs and a RBI.

In the eighth, Kaleb King opened the inning with a walk. Brad Jarreau made his first collegiate appearance with a pinch run. Jarreau advanced to third on a Stephens single and scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch. Stephens added the insurance run with another wild pitch.

Lipscomb’s Jamie Young (0-1) was tagged with the loss, giving up three runs, two earned on a hit in 5.1 innings tossed. Bisons starter Ian Martinez-McGraw went two innings giving up three runs on five hits.

Matt Blackham earned the start giving up one hit in a pair of innings. Nathan Foriest surrendered two runs on two hits in two innings, while Will Small allowed a hit in one inning. Cody Tollison allowed two runs in 1.2 innings tossed.

Middle Tennessee remains at home this weekend with a three-game slate against No. 10 Rice. First pitch for Friday’s weekend opener is set for 6 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

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TSWA honors MTSU’s Dukes

TSWA honors MTSU’s Dukes

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Allen

MTSU logo

Laura Dukes garnered Tennessee Sports Writers Association Softball Player of the Week honors after her 9-for-9 performance through March 17-23.

Dukes led the Blue Raiders offensively throughout last week’s action, recording four doubles, one home run, six RBI and six walks. Against then-No. 3 Tennessee, Dukes finished 1-for-1 with two RBI and three walks. Lady Vols top pitcher Ellen Renfroe surrendered eight earned runs to Middle Tennessee in the March 18 matchup in Columbia, Tenn. Dukes tallied a two-run blast against Renfroe in the fourth inning.

In the LA Tech series March 22-23, Dukes finished 8-for-8 and helped Middle Tennessee to its second Conference USA win of 2014. She notched two RBI on 3-for-3 hitting in game one of the doubleheader Saturday and laced two doubles in the second half of the twin bill, while again going 3-for-3.

In the 5-3 MT victory over LA Tech Sunday, Dukes finished 2-for-2 with two RBI and two walks, elevating her season batting average to .407. She leads the team in doubles with 13 and is second on the team with 18 RBI and 54 total bases.

Middle Tennessee plays a non-conference contest against Jacksonville State today at 4 p.m. before traveling to Charlotte for a three-game series with the 49ers March 29-30.

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Chris Chism throws one hitter to lift Tenn Tech past UT Martin 2-0

Chris Chism throws one hitter to lift Tenn Tech past UT Martin 2-0

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Allen

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It wasn’t quite a no-hitter, but junior Chris Chism did more than enough to lead the Tennessee Tech baseball team to its 19th victory Sunday afternoon, tossing a complete-game shutout and allowing just one hit over nine innings to help the Golden Eagles blank UT Martin, 2-0.

A transfer from St. Petersburg College, Chism was as good as it gets against the Skyhawks, dominating from beginning to end. The right hander struck out a career-high 10 batters while surrendering no walks and allowing just four runners on base all day. Chism hit three batters and gave up a double in the seventh inning.

Even with a small margin of victory, the Golden Eagles truly dominated the entire contest, seeing some bad luck prevent more runs from crossing as Tech unleashed the bats for 10 hits and five walks. The Skyhawks came up clutch in several situations, stranding 10 Golden Eagle runners in scoring position and 11 on base in the game.

The Tech squad managed to scrape runs across both the fourth and fifth innings, using an RBI off the bat of senior Zach Zarzour to score the deciding run. With the bases loaded and one out, Zarzour ripped a ball towards the right field line. UT Martin first baseman Taylor Cox made a heck of a play, stabbing the ball and taking it to first base for a sure out. But his throw home to try and get Tyler Brazelton at the plate came too late as Tech jumped to a 1-0 lead.

Tech doubled its lead in the next frame, using a leadoff single by third baseman Daniel Miles to start things off. After stealing second, Miles came all the way around off the strength of an RBI single by slugger Zach Stephens.

Chism had his repetroire working well during the contest, keeping the UT Martin batters off balance with an array of pitches. The junior became just the sixth Golden Eagle to toss a one-hitter in the program’s history, and the second to do it in at least nine innings. The nine-inning feat had not been accomplished since 1975 when Ralph Mallicoat did it against Milligan College.

Miles kept his impressive hot streak running with a 2-for-3 day at the dish, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and improving his team-leading batting average to .444. Shortstop Dylan Bosheers went 2-for-4 on the day, upping his average to .402 for the season.

The Golden Eagles will take a short break before returning to action Tuesday evening when they host Miami (OH) in the first of a two-game set. Opening pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex as the Tech team looks to get in a groove before returning to Ohio Valley Conference play.

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Lady Raiders fall to Oregon State in NCAA Tournament

Lady Raiders fall to Oregon State in NCAA Tournament

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Allen


Three-pointers and stingy defense carried No. 9-seed Oregon State past No. 8-seed Middle Tennessee, 55-36, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at the University of Washington.

The Blue Raiders (29-5) ended a noteworthy season that saw the team collect the school’s first regular season and tournament Conference USA titles. The Blue Raiders were held to 23 percent shooting (14-of-61) on the evening. Oregon State (24-10) never trailed in the contest, earning a matchup with No. 1-seed South Carolina on Tuesday evening.

Senior Ebony Rowe led the Blue Raiders with a school-record 26th double-double this season. The Lexington, Ky., native inked 17 points and 11 rebounds to carry Middle Tennessee. Her mark passed Robin Hendrix’s previous single-season record of 25 set in 1981. C-USA Freshman of the Year Olivia Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds.

MT was outmanned on the boards, 49-41. The Beavers knocked down 32.7 percent (18-of-55) from the field. OSU hit 10 triples in the contest, with six of those coming from freshman Sydney Wiese. She led OSU with 26 total points, while Deven Hunter had a team-best 11 rebounds.

Oregon State’s defense presented problems early on with the Beavers holding MT scoreless in the first five-plus minutes. The Beavers jumped out to an 8-0 lead with 14:48 remaining.

Middle Tennessee battled back to cut the deficit to 13-10 with 7:01 remaining in the opening half. A four minute scoring drought gave Oregon State 10-0 run. The Beavers held a 26-15 lead at the break, marking the first time MT had trailed by double digits at the half since losing to Troy on Feb. 10, 2013.

Statistically, the Raiders shot just 19.4 percent (6-of-31) from the field, while OSU was limited to 26.7 percent (8-of-30). MT was out rebounded 28-to-22 by the Beavers. Ebony Rowe and KeKe Stewart each had six at the half.

MT used a 7-2 run late in the first half and early in the second to trail by just nine. However, Oregon State stretched their edge to 14 at the 11:44 mark. The Beavers kept ahead of the Raiders, holding a 44-28 edge under eight minutes left.

The Beavers held on in the final minutes, stretching their lead to 19. Middle Tennessee closes out the 2013-14 season with 29 wins, the second most in program history. MT also finished the year with the school’s 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and school-record sixth straight.

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UT Martin Softball drops two to Eastern KY

UT Martin Softball drops two to Eastern KY

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin softball team struggled to keep the Eastern Kentucky bats in check this afternoon, dropping a pair of games to the host Colonels 5-0 and 12-4 in five innings in Ohio Valley Conference action.

The Skyhawks (13-15-1, 4-2 OVC) were led by Deven Wilson who went two for six on the day while Samantha McClure and Carly Gonzales went tallied one hit each in two at bats. For the second day in a row both Gabby Glenn and Kenzi Tate tallied home runs, both being solo jacks. Kelsey Dixon led the team with two RBIs on the day.

UT Martin threw four players inside the circle on the day, as both Casey Vincent and Elizabeth Wiegand posted ERAs of 10.50 in 3.1 innings of work. Wiegand allowed five earned runs while striking out five and issuing three walks. Vincent allowed five earned runs while striking out one. Freshmen Brooke Kennedy and Tayler Jerrick both appeared in relief as Kennedy tallied 2.2 innings of shutout ball, striking out four. Jerrick allowed three earned runs in one inning of work.

Game One: Eastern Kentucky 5, UT Martin 0

Game one belonged to the Colonels and starting pitcher Leanna Pittsenbarger who pitched a complete game shutout, holding the Skyhawks batters to just one hit while registering 14 strikeouts on the day. Pittsenbarger faced 22 batters on the day, just one above the minimum.

The Colonels struck quickly in the bottom of the first inning to take the early advantage. Christina Ciolek laced a double over the right fielder with one out, moving into scoring position. Katie Tackett would soon walk, setting up runners on first and second with one out as Sarah Fobbs approached the plate. Fobbs would single through the left side, scoring Ciolek from second.

Eastern Kentucky would explode in the fourth inning for another four runs to put the game out of reach. The Skyhawks walked two of the first three hitters, eventually leading to the bases being loaded following a single with one out. Campos would convert on the bases loaded opportunity with a single up the middle to score a pair.
Following the two RBI single, the Skyhawks made a pitching change, bringing in Kennedy to finish the inning. The Colonels would make an adjustment to the new pitcher quickly as Ciolek laced another two RBI single up the middle to give the Colonels the even game winning score of 5-0.

The Skyhawks would tally their lone hit of the game on a double by McClure to left center, who quickly stole third base with two outs. McClure would be stranded on third following a strikeout to end the inning.

Game Two: Eastern Kentucky 12, UT Martin 4 (5 innings)

The second game of the twinbill began with the Skyhawks cracking onto the scoreboard for the first time of the day on a solo home run by Glenn to left field in the top of the second inning. The home run was Glenn’s third of the season and second of the weekend.

Eastern Kentucky would look to answer in the bottom half of the inning as Shannon McQueen led off the inning with a triple off the center field wall. McQueen would score the game-tying run on a wild pitch during the next at bat.
The Skyhawks would look to find an answer in the top of the fourth inning, scoring the go-ahead run. Wilson laced a single through the left side before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Zizzi would quickly be retired on an attempted steal. Tate would step to the plate with two outs and no runners before launching a home run to centerfield for the second straight day. The home run was Tate’s fourth of the season, tied for the team lead.

The Colonels would waste little time in the bottom half of the fourth inning, not only retaking the lead, but placing eight runs on the board. Fobbs would strike quickly in the half inning, sailing a solo home run over the center field wall. The Colonels would string together three base hits, including a two run single by Murray.
UT Martin would switch to freshman Jerrick to shut down the inning, but the Colonels kept on the offensive. Joyce tallied an RBI on a dropped fly in the outfield, scoring Murray. The Colonels made their final statement of the inning when Fobbs smashed her second home run of the inning, this one plating three over the left center wall to give EKU the 9-2 lead heading into the fifth inning.

The Skyhawks would tally a pair of runs in the top of the fifth as Lauren Smith got the inning started with a single through the right side. Taylor Manning would reach base on a fielder’s choice and throwing error by the pitcher. Dixon would make the most of the two base runs moving into scoring position by doubling to left center to score the pair and cut the lead to 9-4.

Eastern Kentucky would end the game in the fifth inning after stroking a pair of doubles to left center, scoring three runs as the game was called with a final score of 12-4.

UT Martin will have a quick turnaround, returning to action against Southeastern Conference foe Ole Miss on Tuesday, March 25 at 6 p.m. The Skyhawks and Rebels met earlier this season with Ole Miss getting the 4-3 victory.

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WKU Softball’s Emily Rousseau Named SBC Pitcher of the Week

WKU Softball’s Emily Rousseau Named SBC Pitcher of the Week

Posted on 24 March 2014 by Allen


Western Kentucky University softball senior Emily Rousseau was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week after tossing her first career no-hitter on Sunday against Troy.

Rousseau led WKU to two wins during the week, as she only allowed three runs on 15 hits while striking out 23 batters and posting a 0.84 ERA. Rousseau threw her first career no-hitter in game three against Troy, notching the no-no in a 5-0 win. In the contest, Rousseau had a perfect outing going until the seventh inning before giving up a walk. It was WKU’s first no-hitter since 2012 and first in Sun Belt Conference action since 2006. The right-handed pitcher had two shutouts in the series versus Troy, as she now holds 13 shutouts during her three years on The Hill.

Rousseau hasn’t allowed a run in 20.1 innings and now has 100 strikeouts on the season. The scoreless run ranks fourth in WKU’s career consecutive scoreless innings streak just behind Ryan Rogge’s 20.2 innings in 2006. The Louisiana native ranks 33rd in the country in walks allowed per seven innings (1.12) and also ranks in the top 100 in the NCAA in strikeouts.

It is Rousseau’s first SBC weekly award this season and fifth in her career after earning the honor four times last season.

WKU (19-10-1) is back in action on Wednesday with a 4 p.m. contest at Murray State before returning to conference action on Saturday at UT Arlington.

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Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24