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Tigers take down Skyhawks in second midweek game

<p>Ashley Threatt gets set to field a groundball.  She is tied with Brooke Lee leading the team with five home runs this season</p>
Ashley Threatt gets set to field a groundball.  She is tied with Brooke Lee leading the team with five home runs this season

The University of Memphis softball team picked up their fourth consecutive win Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Softball Complex. The Tigers’ 6-2 win against University of Tennessee at Martin was their second in less than a 24-hour span after getting a 9-3 win against Mississippi State on Tuesday.

The Tigers are now 21-7 on the season and have tied their best start in school history since 2011. This is head coach Natalie Poole’s best start since she began coaching the U of M.

“I am really proud that we are playing the way that we are, playing confidently and believing in what we are capable of doing no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the team is, no matter what we are facing,” Poole said.

Although Skyhawks shortstop Alli Fulcher scored a home run early in the top of the first, the Tigers came out, and Delaney Smith’s single up the middle allowed Kyler Trosclair Klatt and Baylee Smith to score, which gave the Tigers an early 2-1 lead. 

In the second inning, the Skyhawks were able to get a run. Second baseman Savannah Dodson stole second base. An error by Smith allowed Madelyn Dycus to get the unearned run and tie the game at two.

In the third inning, the Tiger defense allowed just one hit, but the offense was unable to get a single hit.

The Tiger offense was able to get back to the plate quickly after Savannah Dodson left base early for an attempted steal. Ashley Threatt stepped up to the plate and hit a home run, which allowed Memphis to regain the lead 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth. 

Pinch hitter Kendall Lee also made a big play in the fourth, hitting her second career home run, and three runners scored. She hit a grand slam Tuesday in the win against Ole Miss. Lee’s homer gave Memphis a comfortable lead at 6-2 with one out. 

“I had a lot more confidence after hitting the grand slam yesterday,” Lee said. That helped a lot, and then she just threw me inside, and that’s usually the ones I attack best.”

Poole said Lee had been performing well in practice, but the freshman had been unable to execute in games.

“We believe in her ability to do it, or otherwise we wouldn’t choose her first to go to in pinch hitting situations,” Poole said. “It’s really great to see her not only come away with a hit, because ideally that’s all you’re asking for, but to be able to lift the ball and put it out, like that is impressive from a mental perspective to be able to step into those situations as well as a physical perspective.”

In the top of the fifth, the Tigers maintained the lead. Memphis’ defense allowed just one hit, and Mariah Nichols pitched a strikeout.

In the sixth inning, the Skyhawk defense did not allow a hit. UT Martin forced three quick outs to bring the Tigers back to defense, where they closed out the win.

Freshman pitcher Nichols stayed at the mound the entire game, while the Skyhawks played three different pitchers. In the Skyhawks’ 26 at-bats, Nichols allowed just seven hits and walked one batter. She pitched four strikeouts in the game.

“It’s a great thing to be able to have a pitcher stay in the entire game and to see them evolve as the game goes on because her performance got better as the game went on,” Poole said. “She definitely made some good strides through the game and was able to keep us right there and give us a chance come out on top offensively.’

Memphis will go on the road this weekend to begin American Athletic Conference play. The team will face new conference opponent Wichita State on Friday. 

“They mix well into this conference just like any other team that we face,” Poole said. “It’s gonna be a battle from the minute we step on the field.”

Ashley Threatt gets set to field a groundball.  She is tied with Brooke Lee leading the team with five home runs this season

Mariah Nichols gets set to pitch. The freshman has a 2.68 ERA and has had 62 strikeouts. 

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