May 3, 2014

Boxscore     PDF

MARTIN, Tenn. – Numerous clutch defensive plays backed a quality outing by the University of Tennessee at Martin pitching staff in a 3-2 triumph over Ohio Valley Conference rival SIU Edwardsville today at Skyhawk Field.

A trio of Skyhawk pitchers held SIU Edwardsville to just six hits on the afternoon. Starting pitcher Dalton Potts (1-7) earned the victory after allowing just two runs on two hits while fanning five over five frames. Making his second appearance in as many days, Alex Boshers threw a pair of shutout innings to bridge the gap to closer John Houston, who allowed just one hit over two scoreless frames to notch his fourth save of the season.

Taylor Cox led UT Martin (7-35, 4-19 OVC) at the plate and in the field today, as his two hits and two RBI’s lifted the offense. Defensively, he made several nifty scoops and had a leaping grab to save a run in the fourth inning. All in all, the Skyhawk defense turned three double plays today to stave off the Cougar offense.

“Outside of the one error, that was probably our best defensive game of the season,” UT Martin interim head coach Brad Goss said. “Not only did we play good defense but we came up with big plays when it counted. At the plate, we were able to manufacture a few runs and our pitching helped us hold on to the lead.”

After SIU Edwardsville (17-27, 13-13 OVC) took the lead with a solo homer in the first inning, the Skyhawks came back to even the score in the bottom half. Taylor Douglas walked and later stole second, setting up an RBI single up the middle by Cox to make the score 1-1.

The Cougars added another run with two away in the top of the second but the Skyhawks pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the second to reclaim the lead. Drew Erie was issued a leadoff walk and Max Balter reached on an error to put a pair of runners aboard with no outs. Erie would move up to third on a wild pitch and come around to score on an RBI groundout by Chase Young. Cox then lined a single up the middle with two outs to score Balter and give UT Martin a 3-2 win.

What looked like an offensive showcase early then suddenly turned into a pitching duel. Potts retired the side in order in the third, then stranded the bases loaded with a called strikeout in the fourth to keep UT Martin’s one run lead intact.

Potts then needed only seven pitches to get through a perfect fifth, his last inning of work.

Boshers then took over and erased a leadoff single in the sixth with a lineout double play and a strikeout. SIU Edwardsville would hit a one-out double in the seventh but yet another double play – this one of the 4-3 variety – kept UT Martin’s advantage at 3-2.

It was then Houston’s turn to mow down the Cougars. He needed seven pitches to work through the eighth inning, which featured a 6-3 double play after the first batter was hit by a pitch.

SIU Edwardsville would get the leadoff man aboard with a single in the top of the ninth but a defensive gem by Balter prevented the Cougars from putting a baserunner in scoring position. After the next SIU Edwardsville batter tried to sneak a base hit through the left side, Balter ranged far to his right to cut the ball off and fire a strike to second baseman Andrew Massey for the force out. Houston then dialed up a strikeout and a flyout to right field to end the contest.

The Skyhawks will look to claim the series with a win in Game 3, which will take place on Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m.