BASEBALL TEAM FALLS IN BOTH ENDS OF DOUBLEHEADER AT EVANSVILLE
March 18, 2014
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team nearly salvaged a split in tonight’s doubleheader at Evansville but the Purple Aces rallied to post a 6-5 win in extra innings of Game 2 following a 5-2 win in Game 1.
The Skyhawk offense came late in Game 1 but was out in full force early in Game 2, as UT Martin jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings of play. The offensive outburst was thanks in large part to senior Zack Malone, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and four RBI’s in the nightcap alone. Taylor Douglas and Drew Erie each started both games of today’s doubleheader and each tallied three hits to lead the Skyhawks (2-17).
Starting pitcher Chris Ross (0-2) pitched well in Game 1, allowing just three earned runs over five innings but was hit with the loss. John Houston (1-1) was tagged with the loss in Game 2 after surrendering one run in 1.2 innings of work.
Stu Jones (two innings, one run allowed in Game 2), Carter Smith (two earned runs allowed in four innings while starting Game 2) and Jacob Gansert (two runs in one inning in Game 1) also saw time on the mound for the Skyhawks today in the pair of seven-inning games.
UT Martin continues Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend with a road matchup at Tennessee Tech on March 21-23.
The Skyhawk bats came alive in the final two innings but Evansville made a 5-0 lead stand up in Game 1.
The Purple Aces scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the first. Ross then pounded the strike zone, retiring eight batters in a row at one point before a one-out single in the fourth snapped the streak. Ross then escaped a potential jam by inducing a lineout double play on the very next pitch to keep the score at 2-0.
A pair of Evansville doubles gave the Purple Aces a 3-0 lead in the fifth but UT Martin got a run back in the top of the sixth. After Fletcher Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice, Erie singles to center and Douglas singled through the right side with two outs to plate Johnson and get the Skyhawks within a pair of runs.
However, the Purple Aces tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to go back ahead by a 5-1 margin. Nico Zych and Kenny King began the top of the seventh off with back-to-back singles and although Zych would later score, the Skyhawks could not provide another baserunner.
UT Martin seemed destined to pick up the victory until Evansville snatched up the win by scoring six unanswered runs to close out the contest.
After scoring in the final two frames of Game 1, the Skyhawks scored in the first two innings in Game 2 to waste no time building an early advantage.
Erie singled to lead off the game and moved up to second base after a Chase Young sacrifice bunt. Taylor Cox then singled up the middle to plate Erie and give UT Martin a 1-0 lead. Three pitches later, Malone connected on a long homer out to left field – as his first career round-tripper provided the Skyhawks with a 3-0 lead.
Smith pitched around a leadoff single to post a zero on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first.
Mikey Nantze grinded out a single to leadoff the second and advanced to third two pitches later when Erie pulled a double down the left field line. A walk to Young then loaded the bases with no outs but Evansville recovered to get a forceout at home and a strikeout. With two away, it was Malone who once again emerged as the hero – as his single to left field scored Erie and Young and gave the Skyhawks a five-run lead.
Smith would once again work his way around harmless singles in the second and third innings before the Purple Aces took advantage of a pair of UT Martin miscues in the fourth and score four runs.
The Skyhawks had a pair of baserunners aboard with only one out in the fifth but couldn’t expand upon their lead. Jones entered the game before the fifth and dialed up a pair of strikeouts to keep UT Martin’s one-run lead intact.
UT Martin once again had a man in scoring position in the sixth but the score remained 5-4 until Evansville tied the game with a two-out double in the bottom half of the frame.
Neither side could score in the seventh so the game went into extra innings. Houston struck out two of the first three batters he faced in the eighth but the Purple Aces would soon come away with the walkoff win with a single to center off the bat of leading hitter Kyle Pollock.