May 4, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. – Five University of Tennessee at Martin baseball players had multi-hit performances this afternoon but SIU Edwardsville scored five unanswered runs over the final three innings to claim a 13-8 win at Skyhawk Field.

Today’s game was explosive early, as both teams combined for 15 runs through three innings. After the Skyhawks knotted the score at 8-all in the bottom of the sixth, SIU Edwardsville pushed across a pair of runs in the seventh and three more in the ninth to claim the series by a 2-1 margin.

Junior catcher Mikey Nantze led UT Martin offensively today, collecting a pair of hits to go along with a career-high four RBI’s. Taylor Cox also had a pair of hits – including the game-tying solo homer in the sixth inning. Jake Deason (two runs scored), Ben Upton (run scored, RBI) and Chase Young (RBI) also had two hits today to guide UT Martin (7-36, 4-20 Ohio Valley Conference).

The Skyhawk bullpen pitched well today (three earned runs in eight innings) but ultimately it wasn't enough. Reliever Chris Ross was charged with the loss after allowing two runs in 2.2 innings. He followed starter Alex Martin (seven runs in one inning) and Carter Smith (one run in three frames) on the mound. Stu Jones also made an appearance today, allowing zero earned runs over the final 2.1 innings.

After SIU Edwardsville (18-27) scored five runs in the top of the first, the Skyhawks answered right back by sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five runs in the bottom of the frame. Taylor Douglas started the rally by drawing a one-out walk and then stealing second base. With two outs, Upton lined an RBI single to center to get UT Martin on the scoreboard. Nick Molina and Deason were then hit by pitches, loading the bases for Max Balter, who grinded out an eight-pitch walk to make the score 5-2. Nantze then delivered a two-run single to left center to plate Deason and Molina. Fletcher Johnson was then hit by a pitch to load the bases once again for Young, who singled through the right side to tie the score at 5-all.

The Cougars would tack on three runs in the top of the second before Smith silenced their bats in the top of the third, retiring the side in order.

UT Martin then put up another crooked number on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. Molina and Deason roped back-to-back singles to lead off the frame and each advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Balter. Nantze then came through once again, lining a single the opposite way to slice the Skyhawk deficit to 8-7.

Smith silenced the SIU Edwardsville bats once again in the fourth and Ross notched a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless fifth. Ross did another great job in the sixth, pitching around a leadoff double to pin another zero on the scoreboard and keep the score at 8-7.

Cox then tied the game with two away in the bottom of the sixth, crushing a line drive homer over the wall in right center to even the score at 8-all.

SIU Edwardsville would add a pair of two-out runs in the top of the seventh to take a 10-8 advantage.

Jones kept the Skyhawks close with a perfect eighth inning and UT Martin had a golden opportunity to tie the game or go ahead in the bottom half of the frame. Johnson (walk), Young (walk) and Douglas (hit by pitch) reached base safely to load the bases with no outs but SIU Edwardsville would wiggle out of the jam unscathed.

The Cougars would then add three unearned runs in the top of the ninth to conclude the game’s scoring.

The Skyhawks begin a five-game road swing this Tuesday, May 6 when they travel to in-state rival Lipscomb. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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