MARTIN, Tenn. veteran pitcher erin gallogher He opened the series on the right foot for the University of Tennessee softball team at Martin by pitching a shutout to lead the Skyhawks to a 1-0 win over the red-hot Belmont at Bettye Giles Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (19-11, 4-3 OVC) earned their eighth straight home win this season behind an impressive performance in the circle by their fourth-year pitcher. Gallagher earned his sixth win of the season and 25the of his career to end the Bruins’ long 11-game winning streak. He earned his fourth career shutout by limiting the visitors to just four hits in the afternoon and striking out three.
UT Martin had four hits in the contest, including two well-timed hits in the bottom of the sixth inning, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Second year student Kaci Fuller he paced the team with two hits on the day along with the eventual game-winning RBI double. The Skyhawk pair of paige-clark and kalie pickens also joined the hit column in the afternoon.
Belmont (17-8, 8-1 OVC) saw his winning streak end, but he also received an impressive pitching output from his ace in the circle. Sophomore Emma Summers (7-3) held off the Skyhawks for much of the game, finishing the day with eight strikeouts, one earned run and four hits allowed in six innings of work.
The Bruins’ best scoring opportunity came in the third inning when Audrey Lyle doubled down the left field line with one out. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt and a walk, the Bruins had a couple of runners in the bags. Despite some traffic, Gallagher relied on her defense and landed an innocent grounder to get out of the driveway unscathed.
After going hitless for the first three innings, the Skyhawks had hits in both the fourth and fifth innings. The game then took a turn in the home team’s direction in the bottom of the sixth after Clark singled down the middle to start a potential new play. With the speedster on first, Fuller doubled into the right-center space and Clark drove around the bases to score the go-ahead run to make it 1-0.
The one run was all Gallagher and the Skyhawks needed to win the game. A great catcher relief maddy long and shortstop Shyanne Sheffield in the top of the seventh he caught a runner stealing second before consecutive innocent outs ended the game in favor of the home team.
UT Martin will return to action for the final two games of the series on Sunday, April 3 against Belmont with the first pitch from Bettye Giles Field scheduled for noon.