March 31, 2018

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team battled but fell by a narrow 7-6 margin to Eastern Kentucky this afternoon.

UT Martin (5-20, 2-10 OVC) was led by Ethan Whitley (three hits, one home run and three RBIs). Teammate Carson Shrode also belted a homer on the day while tallying a pair of hits and an RBI. Tyler Albright and Casey Harford pounded out two hits and an RBI apiece. Jordan Stoner, Ben Aslett, Collin Edwards and Blake Davis rounded out the hit column with one each.

Sam Folks (1-3) got the starting nod and tossed 3.1 innings while allowing four earned runs and fanning a pair of Colonels in his time on the mound. David Hussey provided some stability in his 3.1 innings of work as he allowed just one earned run and rung up three batters along the way. Konnor Aherin pitched 1.2 innings but gave up an earned run but only faced seven batters. Nick Wholbold kept up his perfect streak as he tossed 0.2 inning to cap off the game while recording one of his outs via the strikeout.

Folks was dealing early as he retired the side in order in the first inning. He opened the game with a strikeout followed by a fly out and a ground out.

The Skyhawks would strike in the first inning as Shrode got things started with a double down the left field line and reached third base on a wild pitch just in time for an Albright sacrifice fly. Aslett, Edwards and Whitley then hit back-to-back-to-back singles to juice the bases. Working the count, Davis drew a six-pitch walk to plate Aslett and give UT Martin a 2-0 advantage.

Folks worked out of some trouble in the second as he forced the first batter of the frame to pop up. He then conceded a walk, a single and another walk to load up the bases but fanned a Colonel and forced another to fly out to end the inning, keeping the lead intact.

Eastern Kentucky would answer with a pair of runs in the third to tie the score up at 2-2.

The Skyhawks hit back with another two-run inning in the third as Aslett drew a seven-pitch walk to lead off the frame. Then Ethan Whitley belted a homer to center field to reclaim the lead 4-2.

The Colonels rallied again in the fourth for a trio of runs to take their first lead of the contest by a 5-4 margin.

Hussey would come on in the fourth and retire the first batter he faced on a fielder’s choice and fan the next one to end the inning. He was extremely efficient in the fifth as he needed just eight pitches to get out of the frame. Chugging along, Hussey recorded a pair of strikeouts in the sixth and ended the inning with a friendly ground ball.

Eastern Kentucky put another run on the board in the seventh to push its lead out to 6-4.

UT Martin fired back with a run in the seventh as Shrode sent a ball over the fence in left center to narrow the score 6-5.

The Colonels tacked on another run in the eighth to retake the two-run lead by a 7-5 margin.

The Skyhawks answered with one run in the eighth as Whitley led off the frame with an infield single and then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Later, he would advance to third via wild pitch as well. Harford then tallied a single up the middle and plated Whitley to give the ultimate final score of 7-6.

With a lefty-lefty matchup, Aherin recorded the first out of the ninth on a groundout. Wholbold then came on and sat down the first Colonel he saw via a swinging strikeout followed by a fly out to keep Eastern Kentucky off the board.

UT Martin returns to action on Tuesday, April 3 as in-state foe Lipscomb comes to the friendly confines of Skyhawk Field. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.

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