March 22, 2014

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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – All nine of the University of Tennessee at Martin’s starting position players chipped in with a hit in an impressive 7-5 road victory over Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee Tech this afternoon.

In addition to each starter tallying a hit, all nine starters either scored or drove in a run against the OVC’s top pitching staff today. Ben Upton drove in two runs while Drew Erie had a pair of hits for UT Martin (3-18, 2-6 OVC). Taylor Douglas and Zack Malone also each scored once and drove in a run to lead the Skyhawks.

On the hill, starting pitcher Dalton Potts allowed just one hit but did not factor into the decision after tossing four innings. Carter Smith (1-1) relieved Potts and earned the victory after conceding two runs in four innings. John Houston nailed down the victory with his second save of the season after tossing a scoreless ninth.

Potts retired the side in order in the first, allowing UT Martin to take a lead in the top of the second. With two outs, Malone crushed a homer over the wall in left center to give the Skyhawks a 1-0 advantage.

Potts continued his rhythm with a perfect second inning, needing only five pitches to mow down the Golden Eagles (18-5, 5-3 OVC).

The Skyhawks then appeared to open the game up with four runs in the top of the third. Jake Deason doubled down the left field line to lead off the frame, followed by an Erie single. After a Chase Young walk loaded the bases with no outs, Douglas singled to make the score 2-0. Cox then plated Erie with a groundout to second and two pitches later, Upton drove a double down the right field line to clear the bases and give UT Martin a 5-0 lead.

Potts retired the first two batters in the third for his seventh and eighth consecutive outs to start the game. Tennessee Tech would load the bases later in the inning but Potts kept the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard.

Tennessee Tech chalked up two runs in the fourth off a leadoff walk and homer. The Golden Eagles would add another run in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth to even the score at 5-5.

Smith struck out the first two batters on his way to a perfect seventh inning. The Skyhawks then went back ahead in the top of the eighth. Fletcher Johnson singled up the middle to begin the inning, then stole second. Max Balter then singled to right to put baserunners on the corners with one out before Tennessee Tech brought in its closer, Seth Lucio. UT Martin then took advantage of a pair of Golden Eagle miscues, as Johnson would score on a wild pitch and Balter came in to score after stealing third and advancing home on an error by the catcher.

The Golden Eagles got their leadoff hitter on base in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a Skyhawk error but Smith erased the threat by inducing a double play, followed by another quick groundout.

Houston then pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to seal the win with three groundouts against the heart of the Tennessee Tech lineup in the bottom of the ninth.

The Skyhawks will look to claim the series over the OVC’s preseason favorite when Game 3 takes place on Sunday, March 23 at 12:30 p.m.

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