HAMMOND, La. – The University of Tennessee at Martin saw all nine position players reach base safely at Southeastern Louisiana, but the Lions held on for a narrow 5-4 win this evening in the season opener for both squads.
The Skyhawks trailed 4-0 after two innings but came back to tie the contest after five frames. Southeastern Louisiana – who received votes in a pair of national preseason polls – then scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Lions a 5-4 lead that stood up for the duration of the contest.
Senior Grant Glasser went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored out of the leadoff spot to lead seven Skyhawks who recorded a hit. Matt Haynes scored two runs and drove in a run this evening, while Matt Young drove in a run and Sonny Mastromatteo crossed the plate for UT Martin.
On the mound, Skyhawk starter Dan Tobik fanned five batters through four innings but received a no-decision after conceding three earned runs. Newcomer Chris Ross registered a pair of strikeouts while allowing just one hit in 2.2 scoreless innings. Carter Smith was hit with the hard-luck loss after allowing an unearned run in 1.1 frames.
Southeastern Louisiana took advantage of five hits and a Skyhawk error to push across four runs in the bottom of the second. However, UT Martin got two runs back in the top of the third. Mastromatteo led things off with a single and came around to score when Haynes guided the first pitch he saw for an opposite field double to right center. Glasser then stroked a one-out double to score Haynes and slice the Skyhawk deficit to 4-2.
Tobik pitched around trouble in the third, fanning a pair while getting some help from his battery mate Ben Brewer, who threw out a would-be basestealer at second base. Tobik then shut out the Lions in his fourth and final inning, departing after tossing 76 pitches.
The Skyhawks would even the score in the fifth. Haynes drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Brewer. Glasser followed with a single to put baserunners on the corners with one out. Young then reached on a sacrifice, plating Haynes. Glasser would come around to score the tying run on a Southeastern Louisiana error, knotting the score at 4-all.
Smith kept Southeastern Louisiana off the scoreboard in the bottom-half of the fifth, inducing a pair of groundouts and a flyout.
UT Martin nearly went ahead in the sixth. After Wade Collins reached on a single and Mastromatteo was issued a walk, Brewer lifted a 2-2 pitch deep to the warning track but the ball was retrieved by Lions left fielder Ladd Rhodes to end the Skyhawks’ potential rally.
Southeastern Louisiana scored the unearned run in the sixth before Ross came in and retired five of his first six batters to begin a successful UT Martin debut.
The Skyhawks would get two baserunners aboard in the seventh but couldn’t manufacture a run. UT Martin also generated the tying runs in both the eighth and ninth innings before time ran out on the Skyhawk comeback.
These two teams will resume their three-game series on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.