OFFENSE STRUGGLES IN 14-2 OPENING NIGHT SETBACK FOR UTM BASEBALL AT TROY
February 16, 2018
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TROY, Ala. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team suffered a 14-2 loss in the first matchup of the season against the Troy Trojans this evening.
The Skyhawks (0-1) were led offensively by freshmen Blake Davis (two hits) and Casey Harford (two hits, one RBI). Fellow newcomers Ethan Whitley (one hit, one run scored) and Jordan Stoner (one hit, one walk) also provided hits in the bout. Senior third baseman Ben Aslett was able to reach base twice via base-on-balls.
Dalton Westfall (0-1) found himself in a pickle early in the game as he allowed five earned runs in 1.2 innings. Junior Austen Bullington came in to toss 4.2 innings of relief while conceding five earned runs and fanning three Trojans in the process. Freshman David Hussey threw for 0.2 innings and gave up three earned runs in that stretch. Junior Seth Rayburn came in for one inning of near-perfect baseball as the righty allowed only one walk and fanned one batter.
UT Martin appeared to be in store for a big night in the first inning as Anthony Adduci reached base on a throwing error and Tyler Albright was hit by a pitch to put two runners on but to no avail.
Westfall worked out of trouble in the bottom of the first, fanning the final batter of the inning to strand a pair of Trojan baserunners.
The second inning looked to be another opportunity for the Skyhawks as Davis singled to center field and was then moved over to third base by a Harford double but both runners would be stranded. Troy answered with a five-run inning in the bottom half to take an early 5-0 advantage.
Bullington then silenced the Trojan bats, retiring seven batters in a row at one point. That included back-to-back perfect frames in the third and fourth innings.
The UT Martin fourth inning showed another glimpse of hope as Whitley singled to right field but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double to lead off the frame. Davis provided his second single of the evening while Harford reached on a fielder’s choice and later stole second base. However, the Skyhawks could not get on the scoreboard.
After Troy pushed across four runs in the bottom of the fifth, UT Martin would hit paydirt in the sixth frame as the inning led off with a pair of walks by Aslett and Collin Edwards. Whitley bounced into a fielder’s choice, leaving Aslett as the odd man out. Harford then singled to right field, plating Edwards and getting the Skyhawks on the board. Whitley then pounced on a wild pitch and crossed home plate, narrowing the gap to 9-2.
Bullington followed with a quick sixth frame, retiring the Troy hitters in order in the bottom half of the inning. However, the UT Martin offense pounded out just one more hit in the matchup, as Stoner doubled in the eighth inning but would not cross home plate.
The Trojans would add five unanswered runs in their final two at-bats to provide the final scoring margin.
The Skyhawks return to action tomorrow as they play a doubleheader. Game One is set to begin at 1 p.m. while Game 2 will start at around 4 p.m.
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