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Brandi Goodman signs with Skyhawks

Brandi Goodman signs with Skyhawks

Posted on 09 July 2015 by Allen


Reigning Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year Kevin McMillan has announced the addition of local Obion County Central product and Memphis transfer Brandi Goodman to the squad’s 2015 signing class.

Hailing from neighboring Troy, Tenn., Goodman joins the Skyhawks after a brief two-year stint at Memphis where she appeared in 14 games in 2013-14 after missing much of the season and her entire sophomore year due to injury. In limited action, she averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while chipping in seven steals and a pair of blocks. Her best performance in a Tiger uniform came against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in her second career game, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. She later tallied career highs with six rebounds in 26 minutes against Southern Methodist.

Prior to her stop at Memphis, Goodman prepped at Obion County Central High School under head coach Lyle LaRue. Goodman was a three-time all-state honoree and helped lead the Lady Rebels to the Class 2A state championship game in 2012. She was named District 13 AA MVP, along with being named to the all-region 7AA regular season and all-tournament teams. She helped lead Obion County Central to 118 career wins in her prep career, including a 35-3 mark as a junior. She left the Lady Rebels as one of just four players in school history to score over 2,000 points. She averaged a double-double with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game as a senior while finishing as a finalist for the Tennessee Miss Basketball award. Her 1,600 career rebounds finished just short of 120 boards short of the school record.

Goodman joins fellow signees Teddy Vincent (Martin, Tenn.), Emily Eubank (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Emanye Robertson (Memphis, Tenn.), Eryn Foster (Memphis, Tenn.), Ta’Naisha Hill (Huntsville, Ala.), Dakota Smith (Jackson, Tenn.) and Myah Taylor (Dyersburg, Tenn.). The group joins a Skyhawk program which has notched five consecutive postseason appearances, including four trips to the NCAA Tournament and the program’s most recent WNIT berth.

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Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Favre selected for 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team

Posted on 03 June 2015 by Allen


Former University of Tennessee at Martin quarterback Dylan Favre has been selected as one of 45 United States football players to be selected to play on the 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team, assembled by USA Football.

The team will compete in the fifth International Federation of American Football World Championship, a seven-nation tournament held July 9-18 in Canton, Ohio. IFAF works with 78 countries – spanning six continents – which possess national federations dedicated solely to American football.

A native of Kiln, Miss., Favre joins the roster after finishing a two-year career under center for the Skyhawks. A former Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer, Favre used both his arm and legs to move the Skyhawk offense, notching 276 career rushing yards along with a pair of rushing touchdowns while through the air he accumulated 1,746 yards and 15 passing touchdowns. He led the OVC while ranking second in the nation in completion percentage as a junior, converting 71.1 percent of attempts.

The U.S. Men’s National Team includes athletes from 24 states and will compete in a field against national teams from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. The IFAF World Championship has been held every four years since 1999. In 2011, the United States defeated Canada, 50-7, for the gold medal in Vienna, Austria. The U.S. beat Japan, 23-20, in double overtime in Kawasaki, Japan, to win the 2007 tournament, the first that included a team from the United States.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is led by former Boise State and Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins was 53-11 at Boise State from 2001-05, winning four consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles. His teams compiled a 31-game WAC winning streak, the longest in conference history. His five seasons at Colorado (2006-10) included a win over No. 3 Oklahoma in 2007, the same year he led the Buffaloes to the Independence Bowl.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted IFAF provisional recognition in December 2013. Provisional recognition is the initial step toward permanent IOC membership, which IFAF could attain as early as 2016. IFAF’s permanent IOC membership would make American football eligible for a future vote to become part of the Summer Olympics lineup.

All games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and available via live stream or ESPN3. Matchups are July 9, 12 and 15 with consolation games and the medal round on Saturday, July 18. Kickoffs are noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 9, 12, 15 and 18 to determine gold, silver and bronze medal winners.

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Skyhawks see improvement under Robinson

Skyhawks see improvement under Robinson

Posted on 28 May 2015 by Allen


The 2015 University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team posted several positives in its first season under head coach Rick Robinson.

The Skyhawks played considerably better as the season went on, compiling 17 wins and nine OVC victories this past spring. The 17 victories were the most for the program since 2011 while the nine conference wins rank as the second-highest OVC win total in school history, trailing only the 10-win teams from 2009 and 2011. UT Martin’s six road victories also marked the most for the program since 2010.

UT Martin seemed to have turned a corner in late March, winning 13 of its 17 games from that point forward. The Skyhawks posted a four-game winning streak for the second time since 2012 to begin that span and took three OVC series in that stretch. UT Martin knocked off then-league leader Belmont (March 27-29), won the OVC season series over Austin Peay for the first time since 1993 (May 1-3) and also won the road series at Eastern Illinois (May 8-10).

The Skyhawks also posted one of their most impressive victories in recent memory on April 7, defeating No. 15 Missouri State by a 6-2 margin. That marked the program’s first win over a ranked opponent since April 10, 2009. Despite the series loss, UT Martin played the Bears even on the scoreboard in the three-game series, holding its own against a Missouri State team that is currently 45-10 and enters this week’s NCAA Regionals as the No. 8 overall national seed.

UT Martin also nearly notched another big nonconference win at Memphis on May 12 before falling by a 2-1 margin in 16 innings. The Skyhawks were one strike away from the victory in the bottom of the ninth before the Tigers – who spent significant time in the national polls throughout the season – rallied for the walk-off win.

One area of significant improvement in 2015 was with the leather, as UT Martin posted a .963 fielding percentage. That marked the third-best season fielding percentage in program history, as the Skyhawks’ 72 errors in 52 games were the lowest since the 2009 team committed 63 errors.

The offensive numbers also proved to be a marked improvement from the recent past. UT Martin’s 493 hits were 116 more than last season and were also the most since the 2011 squad banged out 522 hits. The 2015 team also slammed 39 home runs (fourth-most for a single season in UT Martin history), nearly doubling last season’s total of 21.

A veteran-laden pitching staff also clicked throughout the season. The Skyhawk hurlers combined for 10 saves and 331 strikeouts, which ranks second and fourth, respectively, in UT Martin single season history.

Robinson bid farewell to several all-time greats in 2015. Despite only playing for two seasons, Taylor Douglas ranks eighth in program history in home runs (18) and ninth in doubles (33). His 72 hits, 18 doubles, 11 homers, 47 RBI’s and 127 total bases during his senior campaign all rank in the top-10 in UT Martin single season record book. Nico Zych concluded his four-year Skyhawk career ranked third in at-bats (675) and fifth in games played (189), hits (182) and assists (302). On the hill, Carter Smith put the finishing touches on his four-year UT Martin career by ranking fourth in strikeouts (175), seventh in innings pitched (213.1) and eighth in appearances (63).

Junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Bernard shattered the program’s single season and career record with eight saves, ranking second in the OVC in that category. His eight saves are tied for the most in school history and rank as the most in a single season at UT Martin.

Alex Martin’s 72 strikeouts (third), Matt Hirsch’s 32 walks (fifth) and Andrew Castillo’s 15 doubles (ninth) also rank near the top of their respective categories in the Skyhawk single season top-10 lists.

Meanwhile, Dillon Symon became the 10th player and fourth pitcher in UT Martin history to earn OVC All-Freshman accolades. Symon compiled a team-low 3.95 ERA over 20 appearances.

In addition, a pair of Skyhawks were honored as an adidas OVC Pitcher of the Week during the course of the 2015 campaign. Smith earned the award on Feb. 16 while freshman Matt Poteete garnered the accolade on April 20. It marked just the second time in program history that UT Martin accounted for multiple OVC Pitcher of the Week honorees in the same season.

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Jones named OVC Female Athlete of the Year

Jones named OVC Female Athlete of the Year

Posted on 22 May 2015 by Allen


UT Martin sophomore forward Ashia Jones has been selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2014-15 in voting by the league’s athletics directors and sports information directors.

Jones will receive her award at the League’s annual Honors Brunch on May 29 in Nashville. The Male Athlete of the Year (Murray State point guard Cameron Payne) was announced on Thursday.

Jones became the second player in UT Martin women’s basketball history to earn All-American honors this season while also being named OVC Player of the Year and helping the Skyhawks to a perfect 16-0 Conference record (just the sixth in league history) and OVC regular season championship and tournament championship runner-up finish. Jones also took home the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Award for top women’s basketball player in the state of Tennessee.

This season she averaged 23.4 points per game, which led the OVC and ranked fourth nationally. Jones became the third-fastest player in program history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau, accomplishing the feat in 57 games (two games faster than Pat Head Summitt). She also set new single-season UT Martin records in points (772), field goals made (287) and 30-plus point games (10). Jones had several notable individual performances, tying the program’s single-game record with 44 points at Murray State on January 31 and nearly compiling a triple-double with 35 points, nine rebounds and a Skyhawk single-game record 11 steals at Miami (Ohio) on December 15.

Jones also helped guide the Skyhawks to its fifth consecutive postseason appearance, as UT Martin played at Ole Miss in the WNIT.

This marks the second-straight season the OVC Female Athlete of the Year winner has been a UT Martin women’s basketball player (Heather Butler won the award in 2013-14). Overall Jones is the third different UTM athlete to earn the honor.

Other nominees for the award included Austin Peay junior track athlete Breigh Jones, Belmont junior distance runner Hannah Wittman, Eastern Illinois senior forward Sabina Oroszova, Eastern Kentucky senior tennis player Amandine Faouzi, Jacksonville State senior catcher Sara Borders, Morehead State sophomore golfer Anna Magnusson, Murray State sophomore volleyball outside hitter Scottie Ingram, Southeast Missouri freshman soccer goalkeeper Kindra Lierz, SIUE soccer/softball player Samantha Jones, Tennessee State senior guard Chelsea Hudson and Tennessee Tech junior volleyball outside hitter Cody Dodd.
The OVC first awarded a Female Athlete of the Year in 1981.

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Zych Earns TSWA Honors

Zych Earns TSWA Honors

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Allen


Nico Zych of the University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team has been named the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week for games played May 11-17.

A 6-0, 180-pound senior first baseman, Zych wrapped up a productive four-year career with a hot week at the dish, hitting .500 (8-for-16) with an on-base percentage of .529 and a slugging percentage of .938 in three games.

Zych began his week with a hit in UT Martin’s narrow 16-inning loss at Memphis on Tuesday. The Monee, Ill. native followed that with seven hits in nine at-bats against Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State. He went 2-for-3 in the opening game before exploding for the best game of his career in the finale on Saturday.

In what would turn out to be the final game of his collegiate career, Zych tallied a career-high five hits in six at-bats with a pair of homers, finishing just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He added four RBI’s and two runs scored against the Gamecocks, guiding UT Martin to a near-comeback before the team fell 13-12.

Zych concluded the season with a .301 batting clip, 31 runs scored, 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 33 RBI’s. He also posted an impressive .985 fielding percentage (367 putouts, six errors in 396 chances) at first base, a position he had not played at the collegiate level until this year.

Zych ends his Skyhawk career ranking in the top-five in UT Martin history in at-bats (675, third), games played (189, fifth), hits (182, fifth) and assists (302, fifth).

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James Harrison signs with UT Martin

James Harrison signs with UT Martin

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Allen


University of Tennessee at Martin head men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer has announced the signing of James Harrison, a 6-5, 210-pound guard out of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. Harrison will have two years of eligibility remaining for the Skyhawks.

“We’re really excited to add James,” Schroyer said. “He’s a high-level player that does all the things on the perimeter that we value. I love his ability to stretch defenses and he has great size – he can defend multiple positions on the floor. He’s a great kid and a great student – he really fits the bill in every way of the type of young man we are building this program with.”

A Houston native, Harrison helped lead McLennan to a 23-8 record last season and a Region V tournament appearance under head coach Kevin Gill. Harrison was a second team All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honoree after averaging 11.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in just 21.7 minutes per game. He was second on the team in scoring in conference play, pouring in 13.7 points per game.

On the season, Harrison shot 46.6 percent (122-for-262) from the floor while ranking second on the Highlanders with 52 three-pointers. He also sank a team-best 90.4 percent (47-of-52) of his attempts from the free throw line.

Harrison tallied a season-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 24 minutes against Temple College on Feb. 4. He connected on at least three 3-pointers in 10 games, racking up at least 15 points on nine different occasions.

Harrison spent his freshman season at the University of New Orleans, a Division-I school who competes in the Southland Conference. Playing for head coach Mark Slessinger, Harrison played in 23 games and logged two starts, averaging 4.7 points in 12.0 minutes per game. He shot an even 50 percent from the floor (38-for-76), including a 44.4 percent clip (24-for-54) from three-point range.

Harrison concluded his freshman campaign by making at least one 3-pointer in the last 11 games of the season. He cracked double-figures in the scoring column in three different games, including a team-best 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Lamar on March 6, 2014.

At the prep level, Harrison was a standout at Westfield High School under head coach Van Price. He averaged 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as a senior, earning all-region, all-district and district co-MVP accolades with teammate Wesley Iwundu, who is currently playing at Kansas State. The Mustangs finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 31-7 overall record (including an unblemished 16-0 mark in District 13-5A) while advancing to the regional semifinals.

Harrison was tabbed as the No. 26 senior in the Houston area while ranked him as the 70th best prospect in Texas. His successful senior campaign followed a junior season where he compiled 15 points and four rebounds per contest while also earning first team all-district honors for a WHS squad that finished 26-11 overall.

“When I came to visit UT Martin, I felt like I was brought in as a family member as soon as I stepped on campus,” Harrison said. “Coach Schroyer is a great man and a great coach and I will love playing for him for the final two years of my collegiate career. I’m looking forward to being a part of the family-based atmosphere with this team.”

Harrison is the second player to sign with the Skyhawks in the past week, joining sophomore guard Malik Pugh (Dyersburg, Tenn./UNC Wilmington). UT Martin returns nine players from last season’s team who finished with 21 wins – one shy of the school record – and notched the first three postseason victories in the school’s Division-I history.

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Memphis rallies to beat Skyhawks, 2-1

Memphis rallies to beat Skyhawks, 2-1

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team was one strike away in the bottom of the ninth from claiming a victory over Memphis but the Tigers extended the game and eventually claimed a 2-1 extra-inning win at the WS “Babe” Howard Classic at USA Stadium.

The game, which was UT Martin’s longest in over a dozen years, lasted five hours and eight minutes before Memphis’ Damo DeMatteo – who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 13th inning – ended the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning.

All four Skyhawk pitchers who saw action on the mound pitched exceptionally well this evening, as they combined to allow just 10 hits while tuning up 10 strikeouts against a Memphis (34-17) squad that was nationally ranked as recently as two weeks ago. Dillon Symon earned the start and allowed only one hit while fanning three Tigers over three shutout innings. Freshman lefty Daniel Shaw followed with a career-long 4.2 shutout frames of relief, conceding four hits. Patrick Bernard then registered three strikeouts while allowing one run in 4.1 innings before Cole Schaenzer (1-3) was charged with the loss, allowing one run on two hits spanning 3.1 innings.

The UT Martin offense began with a bang, as Matt Hirsch crushed the second pitch of the game beyond the left field wall for his first career homer. Andrew Castillo had two hits while Fletcher Johnson drew three walks for the Skyhawks (17-33), who were playing their last road game of the season tonight.

Hirsch’s blast was more than enough support for Symon and Shaw, who mowed down batter after batter while pitching in familiar surroundings. Symon, who hails from less than 30 miles away in Germantown, retired the side in order in the first inning and did not allow a hit through the first 11 Memphis batters. The Tigers made a bid to tie the contest in the third inning but Castillo rifled in a strike from left field to cut down Darien Tubbs at the plate as he tried to score on a two-out single.

Shaw, who is from less than 20 miles away in Memphis, entered in the fourth and immediately tallied a pair of strikeouts before inducing a flyout to end the inning and strand a Memphis runner on third.

The first batter reached on Shaw in both the fifth and sixth innings but the freshman showed remarkable composure. He got a 4-6-3 double play to end the fifth after a leadoff walk and recorded the final two outs on only eight pitches to erase a leadoff single in the sixth.

Shaw then posted zeroes on the scoreboard in the seventh inning and got two outs on the first six pitches of the eighth before Bernard came in. Facing runners on first and second, Bernard needed only three pitches to get out of the inning and keep the Skyhawk lead at 1-0.

Memphis placed the leadoff batter on base and he would later steal second with no outs. Bernard then got a lineout, followed by a strikeout and had Tubbs at a 1-2 count before he singled to shortstop to score Brandon Montgomery and send the game into extra innings.

Johnson reached on an error to lead off the 10th inning and he would eventually move just 90 feet away from scoring with two away but the Tigers escaped the jam.

Bernard posted shutout frames in the 10th, 11th and 12th, pitching around runners in scoring position in all three innings.

The Skyhawks placed two runners on the basepaths in the 13th but once again couldn’t manufacture a run. Castillo led off with a walk before he was forced out on a Taylor Douglas fielder’s choice. Austin Taylor singled through the right side with two away to put men on first and second but Memphis got through the situation unscathed.

Schaenzer’s first inning of work was in the 13th, as he got two quick outs before extending the game.

UT Martin had its best chance to go ahead in the 14th. Nick Pribble singled to center to lead off the inning and moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Luis Paublini. Johnson then drew a walk and Hirsch reached on an error to load the bases with one out for Castillo, who lifted a fly ball into center. Tubbs completed the catch and fired in a throw that was on target in just enough time to retire Pribble trying to tag from third.

Schaenzer posted two more zeroes on the scoreboard in the 14th and 15th and the Skyhawks once again placed a pair of runners on base in the 16th. Pribble drew a one-out walk and Johnson was issued a two-out walk but Memphis once again got out of the jam.

Tubbs was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the 16th and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, DeMatteo’s single proved to be the game-winner.

UT Martin wraps up the 2015 season this week when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State on May 14-16. First pitch times for the series are scheduled for 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, followed by a 3 p.m. start for Saturday – which will serve as Senior Day and Alumni Day.

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Skyhaws split doubleheader with Eastern Illinois

Skyhaws split doubleheader with Eastern Illinois

Posted on 10 May 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team dodged the weather to finish off a 4-2 win this afternoon over Eastern Illinois in the resumption of Saturday’s contest. The two teams then followed with a seven-inning contest in the finale, as Eastern Illinois avoided a Skyhawk sweep with a 2-0 win.

The Skyhawks (17-32, 9-18 Ohio Valley Conference) have now pieced together back-to-back OVC series wins for the first time since UT Martin won three straight conference weekends on April 22 through May 8, 2011.

The Skyhawks wrap up the season next week with a Tuesday, May 12 matchup against Memphis in Millington, Tenn. before hosting OVC rival Jacksonville State for Alumni Weekend and Senior Weekend on May 14-16.

Game 2
After Game 2 was halted with the Skyhawks leading 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Saturday starter Carter Smith reemerged this afternoon and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. He improved his record to 4-8 on the season after allowing two runs while scattering eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Alex Martin followed with two scoreless innings for his first career save, clinching the series victory.

Austin Taylor collected an RBI and Andrew Castillo scored a run in the top of the ninth to provide an insurance run for UT Martin. Castillo, Taylor Douglas, Andrew Massey and Isaac Carrel each finished with two hits while Castillo led the team with a pair of runs scored.

Smith won a nine-pitch battle in his first batter faced, concluding the fifth inning. He then got through a clean sixth before striking out the side in the seventh, putting the finishing touches on a solid effort.

Martin then took over and did not allow a ball out of the infield in the eighth, using only five pitches to retire the side in order.

The Skyhawks added their final run of the game in their next at-bat, as Taylor drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded to score Castillo, who had previously walked.

Eastern Illinois was able to scratch out a leadoff single in the ninth but Martin did not allow another runner, dialing up a pair of strikeouts to lock down the victory.

Game 3
Martin got the start and pitched well in the finale but the Skyhawk offense was blanked in a 2-0 loss to the Panthers.

Martin (3-6) fanned four batters over four innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Dillon Symon came on in relief and did not allow a hit over two shutout frames.

Castillo and Nico Zych each had two hits to account for four of UT Martin’s six hits in the game.

Eastern Illinois scored once in the first inning but Martin did a good job of limiting the damage, stranding a pair of Panthers on the basepaths.

Martin needed just seven pitches to get through the second, recording a double play and strikeout to keep the score at 1-0.

The Skyhawks put a runner on second and third with two outs in the third but couldn’t tie or go ahead. The Panthers then added another run in the bottom half of the inning to go on top by a 2-0 margin.

Once again, UT Martin placed men on second and third with two away in the fourth but the Skyhawks could not come up with the clutch hit.

Martin piled up two more strikeouts in the fourth before Symon took over. Symon retired the side in order in the fifth and made short work of Eastern Illinois in the sixth, notching a pair of strikeouts.

Luis Paublini and Nick Pribble each singled with one away in the top of the seventh, bringing the potential go-ahead runs to the plate. However, the next two Skyhawks hit into fielder’s choices as Eastern Illinois claimed the final game of the series.

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Pugh signs with Skyhawks

Pugh signs with Skyhawks

Posted on 06 May 2015 by Allen


Malik Pugh, who spent his freshman collegiate season at UNC Wilmington after a standout career at nearby Dyer County High School, has signed with the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball program.

Pugh will have to sit out the 2015-16 season because of NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of eligibility remaining at UT Martin.

“We are very excited about adding Malik to our program for three years,” Skyhawk head coach Heath Schroyer said. “He’s a young man that I recruited when I first got here. He’s a good, young point guard who can do all the things that we love – he can dribble, pass and shoot it.”

Standing at 6-1 and 165 pounds, Pugh saw action in 27 games last season at UNC Wilmington under head coach Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks posted an 18-14 overall record with a 13-7 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play on their way to an appearance in the Postseason Tournament.

Pugh averaged 2.8 points and 1.1 assists while shooting 45 percent from the floor (31-for-69) in 9.3 minutes per contest. He cracked double-figures in scoring three times, including career-highs of 16 points (8-for-10 shooting), six assists and three steals in 21 minutes at VMI on Nov. 22. He also tallied 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting with six assists in 21 minutes against St. Andrews on Dec. 3 and scored 10 points in 19 minutes at Minnesota on Dec. 27.

“UT Martin is closer to home and it’s important that my family can come watch me play,” Pugh said. “Coach Schroyer is a great coach and I know he will put me in the best possible situation to succeed. He will help take my game to the next level as we compete for conference championships and make further history at UT Martin.”

Pugh averaged 20 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals during his senior campaign at Dyer County High School under head coach Derek McCord, concluding his career with 1,003 points. The Choctaws finished 23-7 and advanced to the Class AAA Sectionals during Pugh’s senior season.

Pugh set the DCHS single-game scoring record with 47 points in the season-opener of his senior season. He also had an impressive performance in the Penny Hardaway Hoopfest, pouring in a combined 64 points in two games – 33 points against traditional national power Chicago Simeon and 31 points against Harrisburg – on his way to Most Valuable Player honors at the event. He also scored 37 points in the Class AAA sectional playoff game against nationally-ranked Hamilton High School.

Pugh’s successful senior season came after he helped guide the Choctaws to the state championship game as a junior in 2012-13. He earned TSSAA All-Tournament honors after scoring a team-best 13 points in the state finals against Southwind as DCHS wrapped up its season with a 31-4 record.

Pugh becomes the first player in this year’s signing class at UT Martin. The Skyhawks return nine players from last season’s record-setting team who went 21-13 while advancing to the Final Four of the CIT.

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Tate and Hansen earn OVC Honors

Tate and Hansen earn OVC Honors

Posted on 05 May 2015 by Allen


A pair of University of Tennessee at Martin softball players took home postseason awards as announced at the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament banquet on Tuesday evening, highlighted by senior Kenzi Tate being named to the All-OVC first team while freshman Alicia Hansen took home All-Newcomer honors as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

Along with the two Skyhawks honored, Murray State’s Jessica Twaddle was named OVC Player of the Year while SIUE’s Haley Chambers, Baylee Douglass and Sandy Montgomery took home their respective OVC Pitcher, Freshman and Coach of the Year honors after winning the league’s regular season title and the right to host the OVC Softball Tournament this week.

Tate becomes just the fifth player in the program’s 31 year history to take home All-OVC first team honors twice in a career after achieving the same honor during the 2013 season. Tate joins Jenny Bain (2009, 2010), Megan Williams (2009, 2010), Kristen Runyan (2003, 2005) and Jessica Crosser (1997, 1998) to ever accomplish the feat multiple times.

A native of Opdyke, Ill., Tate earned her distinguished honor after leading the Skyhawks in all three Triple Crown categories, pacing the squad with a .345 batting average while notching nine home runs and driving in 38 runs on the season. She slugged an impressive .628 while managing an on-base percentage of .447 after drawing 28 walks. Along with her bat, she tallied seven stolen bases while converting to first base where she maintained a .988 fielding percent.

Tate leaves UT Martin in the top-10 in six career categories, ranking second with 80 walks, third with 120 RBIs, fourth with 27 home runs, fourth with 62 extra base hits, eighth with 32 doubles and ninth with 272 total bases. Her 56 RBIs during the 2013 season still rank as the program’s all-time record for RBIs in a single season while ranking second in single-season home runs, third in single-season slugging percentage and fifth in total bases.
Hansen burst onto the scene during her freshman campaign, bringing her record-breaking Ohio high school power to the Division I level. Hitting as high as .352 to close out March, Hansen finished her season with strong final numbers turning in a .278 batting average while ranking fourth on the team with six home runs and third with 28 RBIs.

Hailing from Miamisburg, Ohio, Hansen tied a UT Martin single-game record with four hits against Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 7. Her power made a big impact in the Texas Tech Invitational in which she tallied three home runs and nine RBIs during a four game span, including a grand slam against Big 12 foe Texas Tech. Hansen is the 20th Skyhawk to take home All-Newcomer honors in the past decade.

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Skyhawks pick up Hoops awards

Skyhawks pick up Hoops awards

Posted on 27 April 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin basketball programs represented half of the college basketball award winners during the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s annual selection of the state’s college basketball coaches and players of the year honors.

In a vote of TSWA members, UT Martin men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer and sophomore forward Ashia Jones were named the TSWA Men’s Coach and Women’s Player of the Year, respectively.

Schroyer burst onto the scene in his first year at the helm of the Skyhawks, leading the squad to not only the program’s first postseason appearance since the 2008-09 season, but all the way to the Final Four of the Postseason Tournament. A Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award finalist, Schroyer engineered one of the best turnarounds in the country this season. Under Schroyer’s guidance, the Skyhawks posted a 21-13 overall record while boasting a program record 12 road victories, tied for the nation’s lead.

Taking over an eight-win program from a year ago, Schroyer added UT Martin to his list of seven programs who have participated in postseason play while picking up the program’s first three postseason wins in Division-I history. The 13-win increase was the sixth-largest win improvement in Division-I.

“I am honored to have this award,” said Schroyer. “I have a great staff and a great bunch of kids that worked extremely hard this past year. I look forward to working hard and building on the success we had this year.”
A native of Covington, Tenn., Jones notches the program’s second Women’s Player of the Year award in as many years, joining only former great Heather Butler to claim the prestigious honor. Jones led the team to a 22-11 overall mark while becoming the sixth program in Ohio Valley Conference to finish the conference slate with an unblemished mark, going 16-0. This is the fifth major award handed out to the sophomore forward, joining honors such as Associated Press All-America honorable mention, WBCA All-Region, National Mid-Major Player of the Year by College Sports Madness along with OVC Player of the Year and All-OVC accolades.

Jones not only led the OVC but ranked fourth nationally with 23.4 points per game while averaging 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. She scored 772 points during the season, breaking the school’s previous single season scoring mark along with setting new benchmarks with 287 field goals made and 10 outings with 30 points or more.

“The work that Ashia put into her game last offseason proved dividends,” said UT Martin women’s head coach Kevin McMillan. “Ashia has proven that she can compete at a high level and we are looking forward to see how high her game can rise over the next two years.”

The duo joins Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw as Men’s Player of the Year while Chattanooga’s Jim Foster garnered Women’s Coach of the Year honors. All four honorees will be recognized during a luncheon at the TSSAA headquarters on Friday, July 10, during the TSWA’s annual convention in Nashville.

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UT Martin take series finale from SIU Edwardsville, 6-2

UT Martin take series finale from SIU Edwardsville, 6-2

Posted on 26 April 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team allowed only five hits today but SIU Edwardsville managed a 6-2 win in the series finale at the Simmons Baseball Complex.

Senior left-handed Carter Smith (2-8) nearly went the distance, going 7.2 innings while allowing three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts against only one walk. Patrick Bernard came on in relief and needed two pitches to record the final out.

Offensively, Nick Gavello had his second consecutive strong game – as his two-run double in the top of the sixth broke a scoreless tie and gave UT Martin a brief lead. Taylor Douglas and Nico Zych each had two hits while Zych and Nick Pribble each scored a run for the Skyhawks (12-29, 5-16 Ohio Valley Conference).

Smith came out focused, sitting down the first eight batters he faced while carrying a no-hitter through the fifth inning. He tallied six groundouts, six flyouts and three strikeouts while only allowing one baserunner (a two-out hit by pitch in the third inning) in the first five frames.

Smith’s dominant performance allowed UT Martin to take a lead in the top of the sixth. Pribble drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning and Zych followed with a two-out walk to bring up Gavello, who jumped on the first pitch he saw for a double into the gap in right center. Both Pribble and Zych scampered home to provide Smith and the Skyhawks a 2-0 advantage.

A leadoff double by SIU Edwardsville (15-21, 15-9 OVC) in the sixth inning broke up Smith’s no-hitter and led to a three-run inning for the Cougars. SIU Edwardsville pieced together two hits in the inning as the go-ahead run was unearned.

Smith held the Cougars scoreless in the seventh and it appeared that UT Martin was in a good position to tie or go ahead in the top of the eighth. The first three batters (Andrew Castillo, Douglas, Zych) all reached via singles to load the bases with no outs but SIU Edwardsville turned a double play and induced another groundout to escape the inning unscathed.

Smith got two quick outs in the eighth but three more runs – two of which were unearned – crossed the plate before Bernard got out of the inning.

Fletcher Johnson was able to hit a two-out double in the top of the ninth but unfortunately, that would be the only baserunner the Skyhawks could produce.

UT Martin’s next game will take place on Tuesday, April 28 in a nonconference battle between Murray State at 6 p.m. The game will take place at Elam Stadium in Union City, Tenn. and admission is $5 for the general public.

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Skyhawks top Bethel 8-0

Skyhawks top Bethel 8-0

Posted on 23 April 2015 by Allen


Serving as the final tune-up prior to the stretch run for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, the University of Tennessee at Martin softball schedule capped off the non-conference portion of the season’s schedule with an 8-0 victory over NAIA foe Bethel on Thursday evening.

The Skyhawks (24-20) tallied eight hits on the day while drawing three walks to pace the squad to the six inning victory. All-OVC candidates Kenzi Tate and Carly Gonzales paced the team with two hits each while combining to tallying three RBIs on the day. Four other Skyhawks tallied base hits, including base knocks from Alicia Hansen, Jodie Duncan, Renate Meckl and Kacie Daugherty.

Three Skyhawk arms saw action against the Lady Wildcats with Tate (3-5) notching her first action in the circle in nearly a month. The senior looked anything but rusty in her return, posting three innings of one hit ball while striking out a pair. The sophomore duo of Brooke Kennedy and Elizabeth Wiegand also got in the action, combining to allow just two hits while striking out two in three scoreless innings of relief.

“It was good to finally get on the field and play some meaningful softball,” said UT Martin head coach Donley Canary. “We have really been plagued with bad weather all season and especially recently. It was good to get the bats going, get everyone some work and look to carry over some of this momentum into this final stretch.”

The Skyhawks got the game going in the bottom of the second inning, putting the game’s first run on the board. Hansen would lead off the inning with a single to center before moving into scoring position after swiping her team-leading 15th stolen base of the season. Fellow freshman Duncan would bring the speedster around to score with an RBI single up the middle to take an early 1-0 lead.

UT Martin would look for some insurance in the bottom of the third, stretching its lead out to three. Samantha McClure would reach following an error to lead off the inning before seeing the bases become loaded as Tate singled up the middle and Lauren Smith worked a walk. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Kelsey Dixon would notch the first run of the inning before Tate tacked on the inning’s second run on a successful double steal of home with senior partner Dixon taking second.

Facing the Lady Wildcats’ fourth pitcher in as many innings, the Skyhawks would put further distance between the two squads in the top of the fourth. Meckl would get the inning started with a bloop single to center before being pulled for pinch runner Bella Zizzi. Gonzales would later bring the speedy Zizzi around to score with a double laced to right center.

Gonzales and McClure would set up the following scoring situation after McClure drew a walk and Gonzales advanced to third on a wild pitch. Much like the third inning, the Skyhawks would notch the game’s second double steal as Gonzales crossed to plate to give the home squad a 5-0 margin after four innings.

With the game already decided, the Skyhawks would land the contest’s final blow in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing the game to an early conclusion. An error would lead off the inning before Daugherty drilled a double to left center, scoring Meckl on the play. The game would later end as the Skyhawks placed runners on second and third with one out. Tate would lace a double off the left center wall to bring the pair of runners across to score and wrap up the contest with an 8-0 victory.

UT Martin will return to action this weekend with a three game series at OVC leader SIUE. The Skyhawks and Cougars will pair off for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 25 with the series finale slated for Sunday.

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Skyhawks add three pitchers

Skyhawks add three pitchers

Posted on 21 April 2015 by Allen


Skyhawk head baseball coach Rick Robinson has announced the additions of three players who will attend the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2015-16.

Pitchers Shane Seckinger, Domenic Bazzani and Matt McKinstry will all join the Skyhawk program next season as transfers. Seckinger and Bazzani are currently teammates at Georgia Perimeter College while McKinstry will come to UT Martin from Southwest Tennessee Community College.

“These three young men are a great fit for UT Martin baseball and will make our pitching staff a lot better next year,” Robinson said. “Each one will play a major role in the future success of our program not only on the field but off the field as well.”

Shane Seckinger, RHP, 6-2, 200, R/R, R-So., Oakwood, Ga. (Georgia Perimeter College)
Seckinger will have three years of eligibility remaining for the Skyhawks beginning in 2016 after redshirting at North Georgia College last season. He has helped the Jaguars and head coach Jeremy Brotherton get off to a 27-20 start this season, going 5-0 with a 1.86 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts). In 38.2 innings, he has allowed 32 hits while striking out 38 batters against 21 walks. He has allowed one earned run or less in six of his appearances so far this season, with his best outing coming against East Georgia on March 2 (five innings, two hits, zero runs allowed, eight strikeouts). He also fanned nine batters while allowing two hits in 5.2 innings against Georgia Highlands on April 17. He prepped at Mill Creek High School, where he was the Region 7AAAAA Pitcher of the Year in 2012. He was a first team all-region and first team all-county honoree in back-to-back seasons (2012 and 2013), helping the Hawks to region titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He set the school record for career strikeouts and lowest career ERA while earning Gwinnett County All-Star and Georgia All-Star accolades in 2013.

Domenic Bazzani, LHP, 6-4, 225, L/L, R-Fr., Stockbridge, Ga. (Georgia Perimeter College)
Bazzani will have four years of eligibility for UT Martin as he is currently redshirting at Georgia Perimeter, rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in the fall. His prep career was spent playing for head coach Jason Borcherding at Heritage High School, where the Patriots won 18 games and made an appearance in the Class AAAAA state playoffs in 2014. Bazzani earned second team all-region honors as both a pitcher and an infielder and was named an all-area first team honoree after posting a .407 on-base percentage and a team-high 25 RBI’s. He had multiple dominant efforts on the mound, including a complete game, 10-strikeout, one earned run performance against Winder-Barrow during his senior year. He also fanned nine batters and allowed only one run over four innings against Rockdale County in his senior campaign. His brother Anthony played for fellow Ohio Valley Conference school Eastern Kentucky from 2010-13 and is currently pitching in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

Matt McKinstry, RHP, 6-5, 175, R/R, Jr., Memphis, Tenn. (Southwest Tennessee CC)
McKinstry will have two years of eligibility remaining at UT Martin beginning in 2016. He currently plays for head coach and UT Martin alum George Sykes at Southwest Tennessee Community College, where he has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.15 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts). He has thrown one complete game and has allowed only five extra-base hits in 37.2 innings, fanning 31 batters against only 11 walks. He has allowed one or zero runs in all but two appearances with his best outing coming against Broward College (six shutout innings, four hits allowed, seven strikeouts) on Jan. 31. As a true freshman in 2014, he made 15 appearances with one start, accounting for scoreless outings in 10 appearances. He did not allow a run from Feb. 2 through March 21. He prepped at White Station High School, where he led the Spartans to 26 wins and the District 16-AAA title as a senior. He was the winning pitcher in the district championship victory over Central.

These three players will join UT Martin’s 12 signees from the fall, which include Jake Patzner (RHP, Johnson County CC), Dalton Westfall (RHP, Potomac State College), Alex Evans (RHP, Barton CC), Collin Edwards (OF, Wabash Valley College), Ty Hilton (OF, Illinois Central College), Tyler Albright (IF, Oakton CC), Josh Hauser (IF, Elgin CC), Sadler Goodwin (IF/RHP, Evangelical Christian School), Bentley Jones (C, Brighton HS), Adam Rimmer (LHP, Milan HS), Alan Rickman (RHP, McNairy Central HS) and Nick Proto (C, North Haven HS).

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