SKYHAWK BASEBALL READY TO BATTLE TROY TO OPEN 2018 CAMPAIGN
February 14, 2018
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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball squad is set to begin the 2018 campaign when it travels to Troy, Ala. this weekend for a four-game series. This marks the first time in the Skyhawks’ Division-I history that they have played their old Gulf South Conference foe.
Just one season removed from UT Martin’s most wins in its Division-I tenure, the Skyhawks are led by interim head coach Ryan Jenkins, who took over the reins in December. Jenkins will look to a strong veteran presence as well as a talented young corps of Skyhawks, as the 2018 squad features 20 returners and 11 newcomers.
The senior tandem of Tyler Albright and Creighton Eldridge, two of UT Martin’s biggest returning bats, are expected to provide a solid foundation of offense to the starting lineup along with a group of first-year phenoms. Albright hit .343 with 38 RBIs and 46 runs scored as the team’s starting second baseman while Eldridge hit .287 with 25 extra-base hits, slugging .548 in his first season as the starting center fielder.
The Skyhawk pitching rotation gained a ton of experience last year with senior righty Dalton Westfall (5-6, 5.24 ERA) leading the way in innings pitched (80.2) and strikeouts (81). Sophomore right-hander Winston Cannon (5-4, 6.71 ERA), senior righty Peyton Cain (1-6, 5.45 ERA) and sophomore southpaw Sam Folks (2-0, 7.12 ERA) are all expected to make a splash as they are all in their second year with the UT Martin program.
Westfall will get the starting nod on Opening Night with Folks and Cannon splitting the Saturday starts. Cain will start the Sunday matchup for the Skyhawks.
Troy finished the 2017 season with a 31-25 record and rounded out the year with a Sun Belt Conference Tournament appearance following a 16-14 mark in league play. The Trojans return 23 lettermen and welcome nine newcomers to the fold in 2018.
Troy will look to the leadership of junior second baseman Brandon Lockridge (.344 batting average, six home runs, 39 RBI) and senior righty Andrew Crane (6-2, 1.47 ERA, 60 strikeouts). The Trojans are projected to throw Crane for Game 1, junior right-hander CJ Carter (6-4, 2.64 ERA at Alvin Community College) and senior righty Daren Osby (5-5, 5.02 ERA) for Games 2 and 3, respectively, with junior right-hander Rush Hixon (8-1, 1.50 ERA at Central Alabama Community College) getting the starting nod for Game 4 on Sunday.
Follow along with the series by clicking on the links above for live video, audio and live stats.