May 2, 2014

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team held three different leads in the early stages of tonight’s game against SIU Edwardsville but a five-run seventh inning by the Cougars proved to be the difference in a 14-7 Skyhawk loss.

Freshman Ben Upton helped UT Martin take the early advantage, as he homered in the bottom of the first and just missed his second longball of the game with a double off the wall in the fourth. The Kingwood, Texas native concluded his evening with two hits, two runs and a career-high four RBI’s.

Taylor Douglas collected three hits, scored two runs and had an RBI for UT Martin (6-35, 3-19 Ohio Valley Conference). Chase Young (two runs scored), Nick Molina (RBI) and Mikey Nantze (run scored) also contributed to the Skyhawk offensive attack tonight.

On the hill, Carter Smith was charged with the loss after allowing four earned runs over 2.1 innings in relief. Starting pitcher Taylor Cox fanned five over 3.2 innings but did not factor into the decision after conceding five runs. Alex Boshers (two runs in one inning) and John Skubina (one earned run in two innings) also made appearances for the Skyhawks.

Cox pitched around a leadoff double in the top of the first to post a zero on the scoreboard. That gave UT Martin the opportunity to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning, as Upton pulverized the first pitch he saw over the right field wall to score himself and Young, who reached on a leadoff single.

Cox then stranded SIU Edwardsville runners on second and third in the second inning, recording a called strikeout and groundout to end any kind of scoring threat from the Cougars.

SIU Edwardsville (17-26, 13-12 OVC) would tie the game with a pair of runs in the top of the third but the Skyhawks would reclaim the advantage in the bottom of the inning thanks to a couple of heads up plays by Douglas.

After Douglas doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning, he swiped his team-high ninth bag of the season to position himself 90 feet away from the plate. After a third strike barely bounced away from the Cougar catcher, Douglas sprinted home on a throw down to first base and beat the return throw home to put UT Martin on top by a 3-2 margin.

The Cougars would score three runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 5-3 but a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth tilted the score back in the Skyhawks’ advantage. Nantze was hit by a pitch and with two outs, Young drew a walk to continue the inning. A balk followed before Douglas singled up the middle to plate Nantze. Upton then skied a deep fly ball out to right field that caromed off the wall and scored two, giving UT Martin a 6-5 lead. A pitching change followed before Molina guided a sharp single through the left side to score Upton and extend the Skyhawk lead out to two runs.

SIU Edwardsville then came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth before Smith faced four batters over a quick scoreless sixth inning. However, the fateful five-run top of the seventh came back to haunt UT Martin. The Cougars would add two more runs in the top of the eighth to provide the final 14-7 margin.

These two teams return to action on Saturday, May 3 at 3 p.m.

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