March 21, 2017

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The bats came alive on Tuesday night for the University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team in their 12-4 victory at Evansville. It was the Skyhawks’ (8-10, 0-6) first win in the series since 2009 and broke a streak of six consecutive wins in the series for the Purple Aces.

Evansville (7-12, 0-0) got on the board first as they scored a run on a wild pitch from UT Martin starting pitcher Jake Patzner. The Purple Aces followed that up with an RBI-single from Evansville first baseman Andrew Tanous to score another and put the home team ahead 2-0.

The Skyhawks used some big hits as they capitalized on a pair of Evansville mistakes in the third inning to push across five runs. UT Martin loaded the bases on a single from Josh Hauser, followed by freshman Connor Aube reaching on a throwing error and centerfielder Creighton Eldridge taking first on a hit-by-pitch. Redshirt-junior Tyler Albright continued his stellar offensive output with a single through the right side to drive in the Skyhawks’ first run and trim the margin to 2-1. Senior Tanner Wessling then drilled a shot into deep right field for a triple to clear the bases. Wessling’s three RBI’s on the extra-base hit pushed his total to 13 on the season and gave UT Martin the 4-2 lead. In the next at-bat, first baseman Ryan Helgren grounded out to second to score Wessling and cap off the Skyhawks largest inning since March 7 against Bethel.

A two-out rally sparked another huge inning for UT Martin in the fourth, who tacked on four more runs to pad its lead.  After Albright reached first on a walk with two outs, the Skyhawks strung together four straight singles from Wessling, Helgren, Anthony Adduci and Dan Kerwin. Adduci’s knock up the middle scored two runs, while Kerwin’s hit to left pushed across another to give UT Martin the 8-2 advantage. A wild pitch from Purple Aces’ hurler David Ellis brought home Adduci to add another run and extend the margin to 9-2.

For the third consecutive inning, UT Martin scored multiple runs as the Skyhawks pushed across three in the fifth to give them a comfortable 12-2 lead. Wessling and Adduci each notched their fourth RBI on the night in the inning, as Wessling grounded into a fielder’s choice to score one, and Adduci used another two-RBI single to give the Skyhawks the double-digit advantage.

Evansville scored two in the seventh on a single from Jimmy Day to cut into the deficit, but that was all the Purple Aces could manage as right-hander Shane Seckinger entered the game for UT Martin on the mound in the eighth and closed out the last two innings. The Oakwood, Ga. native tossed two scoreless innings, retiring six out of seven batters he faced and striking out two.

Reliever Alex Evans (2-2) took over for Patzner after two innings and was lights out to earn the win. The right-hander from Mulvane, Kan. accomplished the rare four strikeout inning in the sixth as an Evansville batter reached first on a swinging third strike, before Evans whiffed his fourth hitter of the inning the very next at-bat. Evans tossed a strong 5.0 innings allowing only two runs and striking out eight. Alex Weigand was hit with the loss for the Purple Aces.

The Skyhawks were paced by strong offensive performances by Wessling (3-6, four RBI’s) and Adduci (2-4, four RBI’s). Helgren (2-5), Kerwin (1-5) and Albright (1-4, three runs scored) also tacked on RBI’s in UT Martin’s eighth victory of the season.

UT Martin returns home to take on Ohio Valley Conference foe Belmont beginning this Friday, March 24. First pitch for game one of the three-game set is slated for 6 p.m.

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