February 15, 2017

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team will officially begin its 2017 campaign this weekend when they host Mid-American Conference foe Buffalo. The series will be played at Elam Stadium at L.H. Ladd Field in Union City due to ongoing renovations to Skyhawk Field. The season begins with a 2 p.m. first pitch time on both Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18, followed by a 12 p.m. start time on Sunday, Feb. 19.

UT Martin will head into its third season under the direction of head coach Rick Robinson where the Skyhawks will open the year at home for the first time since 2010. Last season, UT Martin faced the Bulls for the first time in program history falling 5-3, 8-5 and 15-8 in a three-game set at Skyhawk Field. Josh Hauser (two runs, four hits), Dan Kerwin (two extra-base hits) and Ryan Helgren (solo home run) led the way for the UT Martin offense.

The Skyhawks return 13 players while adding 19 newcomers in 2017. Included in the newcomers are several players who are expected to make their UT Martin debuts this weekend. Outfielder Connor Aube was recently named Baseball America’s OVC Preseason Freshman of the Year and will likely see action for UT Martin right away. Peyton Cain will look to make his mark on the mound for the Skyhawks, as the East Central Community College transfer looks to be an instant part of the UT Martin rotation.

Lefty Dom Bazzani will be the opening day starter for the Skyhawks and get the nod on Friday afternoon. Cain will likely make his debut in the orange and blue on Saturday and returning right-hander Jake Patzner is the probable starter for Sunday.

Those starters will be looking to turn a lead over to Alex Evans and the UT Martin bullpen. Evans finished the season with eight wins and a save in 14 relief appearances after April 8. That came after an 0-5 in his first seven appearances (all starts) of the year. He tallied six of those wins in the calendar month of April, shattering the Division-I program record for most wins in a month.

Buffalo went 21-31 last season and were led by All-MAC First Team selections Vinny Mallaro and Alec Tuohy, both of whom will return for the Bulls in 2017. As the team’s top outfielder, Mallaro hit .351 with 66 hits, 13 home runs, and 52 RBI’s. Tuohy’s tallied a 7-4 record with a 2.98 ERA in 14 starts.

The Bulls will send out Tuohy on Friday, right-hander Charlie Sobieraski (5-6, 4.50 ERA) on Saturday and junior Shawn Dubin (2-5, 5.31 ERA) for the Sunday matinee finale. 

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