STONER'S FOUR-HIT DAY PROPELS UTM BASEBALL TO 8-7 WIN OVER SEMO
March 16, 2018
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team battled out an 8-7 victory this afternoon over Ohio Valley Conference opponent Southeast Missouri. The win snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Redhawks, the last victory coming back on April 27, 2012
UT Martin (5-12, 2-2 OVC) was led by Jordan Stoner (four hits, three runs scored) came up a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Collin Edwards (one hit, three RBIs) and Ethan Whitley (one hit, one home run and two RBIs) both connected for multiple-RBI games. The trio of Casey Harford (two hits, one RBI), Tyler Albright (two hits, one RBI) and Carson Shrode (one RBI) also accounted for the scoring in the contest. Ben Aslett rounded out the hit column for the Skyhawks.
Lefty Konnor Aherin (2-0) was credited with the win as he came on in the eighth, just in time for the UT Martin rally. He tossed two innings of perfect baseball in his time on the mound. Righty starter Austen Bullington logged four innings of work while giving up six earned runs but fanning a batter in the process. Southpaw Dom Bazzani came on in relief of Bullington and put together three full innings of solid baseball, giving up just one earned run and striking out a Redhawk along the way.
“It was a big day for Stoner,” interim head coach Ryan Jenkins said. “He is getting more and more comfortable in the batter’s box. We did really well today with the management of our pitching staff. We were able to keep our guys under their pitch counts for the weekend so they will be ready the next time they get the call. It meant a lot to be able to match SEMO swing for swing and winning this game is going to be big for us later in the series. It was great to be able to come out hot and get the big inning as well as limit the big innings for SEMO which was a goal of ours going in.”
Southeast Missouri looked to get off on the right foot as a Redhawk singled to open the ballgame. Bullington would erase the runner as he used a quick pickoff attempt to sit Urhahn down and start fresh. Bullington would allow another hit but got a friendly groundball and flyout to end the first inning.
The UT Martin first inning set the tone for the Skyhawks as Stoner led off with a triple to right center. Harford then drew a seven-pitch walk followed by an Albright walk. With the bases loaded, Edwards then stepped to the plate for a three-run double to left center. Whitley would then pound a homer to right center to clear the bases as UT Martin ended the inning with a 5-0 advantage.
The Redhawks would plate two runs in both the second and third innings to narrow the Skyhawk lead to 5-4.
UT Martin put another run on the board in the third inning as Aslett led off with a single to center followed by an Edwards walk. Later, Whitley would draw a seven-pitch walk to load the bases up again. Shrode would line out to the leftfielder but Aslett would cross the plate to push the Skyhawk up 6-4.
Southeast Missouri struck again in the fourth frame with a pair of runs to even things up at 6-6.
Bazzani would make fairly quick work of the Redhawks in the fifth inning as he retired the first batter via the strikeout. He would then work around a single before getting a double play to end the inning.
The UT Martin fifth looked as if big things were in store for the Skyhawks as Aslett worked a four-pitch walk followed by Edwards reaching base via hit by pitch. Davis moved the runners over on a sacrifice bunt. Whitley worked a walk for himself to load the bases but to no avail as the UT Martin bats were unable to clear the bases.
Bazzani pitched with ease in the sixth as he retired the side on just 12 pitches, all fly balls.
The Skyhawks tallied another run in the sixth as Stoner led off with a single through the right side. Albright then doubled down the left field line to plate Stoner, reclaiming the lead at 7-6.
Southeast Missouri tied the game in the seventh as Bazzani conceded a homer but was able to get out of the frame with any further damage with the game tied at 7-7.
Aherin began his workday with a runner on first in the eighth but got a ground ball back to him and made the heads-up play by getting the lead runner out at second. He then got a pair of fly balls to end the inning.
UT Martin broke the tie in the eighth as Stoner got things started with another triple to right center followed by a Harford single to give the Skyhawks the 8-7 lead and ultimate final score.
Aherin kept the Redhawk bats quiet in the ninth as he got a foul out and a pair of goundouts to secure the victory.
UT Martin returns to action at Skyhawk Field tomorrow with first pitch slated for 3 p.m.