BASEBALL TEAM DROPS 3-1 HEARTBREAKER TO TENNESSEE TECH
March 22, 2013
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin pitching staff struck out 16 batters and the offense doubled up Tennessee Tech in hits, but the Skyhawks fell 3-1 in Ohio Valley Conference baseball action at Skyhawk Field.
Senior starting pitcher Dan Tobik was electric on the mound tonight, racking up a career-best 12 strikeouts in only six innings of work for UT Martin (8-14, 1-6 OVC). The 6-4 right-hander out of Ballwin, Mo. allowed just three hits and one earned run but was charged with the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season. Junior righty Chris Ross was also dominant in relief tonight, allowing just one hit while fanning four over three scoreless frames.
The 16 strikeouts amassed by the Skyhawk pitching staff was a season-high and marked the most strikeouts in a game since UT Martin fanned 15 batters (in 12 innings) against Martin Methodist on April 9, 2007.
“I thought Dan pitched as well tonight as he has all year and that was one of the better games he has thrown since he’s been with us,” UT Martin head coach Bubba Cates said. “It’s tough because we had to be almost perfect for him to win. To strikeout 12 in six innings against one of the better teams in our conference is an outstanding day but he would trade all of that for a win.”
At the plate, Matt Haynes registered a career-high three hits for the second time in the last three games. The senior from Jackson also scored the Skyhawks’ lone run and is hitting .391 over his last dozen outings. Ben Brewer was responsible for UT Martin’s lone RBI tonight while Grant Glasser reached base twice (single, walk) out of the leadoff spot and Byron Johann pushed his hitting streak out to nine games for the Skyhawks.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win there at the end,” Cates said. “We had the bases loaded with one out and two good hitters coming up and that’s all we can ask for. I’m as confident in those two guys as anybody on the team and I still am – they just faced good pitching.”
Tennessee Tech took advantage of a passed ball in the first inning to score an unearned run off a sacrifice fly. Tobik bounced back with a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless second, but Tennessee Tech’s Austin Wulf hit a solo homer in the third inning to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.
After that, Tobik recorded five straight outs via strikeout, keeping Tennessee Tech off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Skyhawks sliced their deficit to one run in the bottom of the fifth. Haynes led things off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two away, Brewer guided a single out to right field to score Haynes.
Tennessee Tech scored another unearned run in the top of the sixth but Tobik escaped a no-out, runners on second and third situation with two straight strikeouts and a play at the plate catching a Golden Eagle runner trying to advance home.
UT Martin got two runners aboard in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t push across a run. Ross then retired the side in order in the seventh, tossed another shutout inning in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to set up a potential Skyhawk rally in the bottom of the ninth.
Haynes singled up the middle with one out and Sonny Mastromatteo reached on a two-base error to put the tying run 180 feet away. Nico Zych was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Tennessee Tech closer Seth Lucio tallied two straight strikeouts to end the game.
These two teams will continue their three-game series on Saturday, March 23. First pitch time has been moved up to 1:30 p.m. to avoid the possibility of a weather delay.