March 26, 2017

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to trim into the Belmont deficit, but that was all they could manage as the Skyhawks dropped the series finale to the Bruins 8-6 on Sunday afternoon.

For the second time this series, senior Ryan Helgren opened the scoring for UT Martin (9-12, 1-8) with a home run to left field in the first inning. This time it was a two-run shot to drive in freshman Connor Aube and put the Skyhawks ahead 2-0 early. It was Helgren’s third jack of the season and second in three days.

Belmont (10-12, 5-4) answered back in the second inning with an RBI- fielder’s choice grounder from left fielder Alex Ward to cut the lead to 2-1, as Chas Hadden belted a homer out to right in the third inning for the Bruins to knot the score at two.

UT Martin pushed across a run of their own in the third as Tanner Wessling drove in Helgren with a sacrifice fly to right to put the Skyhawks back out in front 3-2. For the third consecutive inning, the Bruins tallied a single run in the fourth on a groundout from third baseman Ben Kocher to tie the game back at three.

Belmont took its first lead of the game in the seventh as outfielder Tyler Walsh doubled home the go-ahead run before crossing the plate on a throwing error just one batter later to put the Bruins ahead 5-3.

The resilient Skyhawks cut the deficit in half in the eighth as third baseman Ben Aslett opened the inning with a double to left before coming home on a Dan Kerwin single. It was the catcher’s 11th RBI on the year as the lead for the Bruins was down to 5-4. Belmont broke the game open in the top of the ninth pushing across three runs on four hits to give them their biggest lead of the day, 8-4.

UT Martin refused to go down without a fight as Creighton Eldridge tripled off the center field wall to drive in Helgren and later scored on a pinch hit RBI-single from freshman Robert Worley to pull the Skyhawks to 8-6. However, that was all UT Martin could manage in the ninth as they dropped game three and the series to Belmont.

Peyton Cain took the mound for his first career Division-I start and tossed a strong 6.0 innings allowing just three hits and three earned runs while striking out two. Evans (2-3) relieved Cain to start the seventh inning and was hit with loss. Connor Etheridge (3-0) picked up the victory for the Bruins.

Offensively, Kerwin (3-4, one RBI) and Tyler Albright (2-4) notched multi-hit games, while Helgren (1-4, three runs scored) also was a big contributor to the Skyhawk bats.

UT Martin will return to action next Friday, March 31 when they travel to Eastern Kentucky for a pivotal three-game series against the Colonels.

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