February 23, 2017

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team will look to build on their two-game winning streak as they host the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on Feb. 24-26. All three games will be played at L.H. Ladd Field at Elam Stadium in Union City due to current renovations that are taking place at Skyhawk Field.

The Skyhawks are coming off a come-from-behind walk-off victory against Buffalo this past Sunday in which second baseman Tyler Albright both singled in the tying run and then scored the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth to give UT Martin the 4-3 win.

It was a successful weekend for the Skyhawks who bounced back from a 10-2 defeat on Friday, to dominate the Bulls 14-0 on Saturday. Redshirt-junior Dalton Westfall has garnered both regional and national attention for his 15-strikeout performance. The Buckhannon, W.Va. native tossed seven scoreless innings and only allowed three hits to give UT Martin their first victory of the season and was recognized as the College Sports Madness Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week. Westfall ranks second in the country and first in the OVC in strikeouts.

As a staff, the Skyhawk pitchers rank second in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (13.7) as five different UT Martin pitchers recorded three or more punch outs over the weekend. Westfall (15), Patzner (7), Alex Evans (6), Shane Seckinger (4) and Sam Folks (3) led the way for the UT Martin.

Albright, Tanner Wessling and Anthony Adduci each racked up .500 averages over the weekend. Albright ranks first on the squad with six hits and ties with Wessling as the team’s RBI leader with three each. A balanced lineup was key to the UT Martin series win as nine different Skyhawks drove in runs over the weekend. Freshman newcomers Adduci and Connor Aube shined in their UT Martin debuts racking up four hits and two RBI’s respectively, while neither player recorded an error defensively.

This weekend marks the first ever meeting between the Skyhawks and the Golden Lions. UT Martin owns a 14-4 record all-time against Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents.

Dom Bazzani (0-1, 7.36 ERA) will likely get his second start on Friday, with Westfall (1-0, 0.00 ERA) taking the mound on Saturday and Jake Patzner (0-0, 5.40 ERA) getting the nod on Sunday.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is led by sluggers Sergio Esperaza (.300 average) and Juan Pablo Soriano (.273 average, one double and one homer). The Golden Lions struggled in their season opening series against Louisiana Tech suffering setbacks of 11-0, 13-3 and 16-1.

Nathan Sawrie got the opening day start against the Bulldogs going 4.2 innings allowing only two hits and three runs (all unearned) and is expected to take the mound against UT Martin on Friday. Tyrus Lopez (0-1, 15.75 ERA) and Anton Luster (0-1, 18.00 ERA) are the Saturday and Sunday probable starters for UAPB.

First pitch for all three contests is slated for 2 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Weaks/Union City Messenger

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