MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin pitching staff racked up a season-high dozen strikeouts this afternoon and a trio of seniors accounted for four RBI as UT Martin downed IPFW 5-4 at Skyhawk Field.
Right-handers Dan Tobik, Chris Ross and Stu Jones limited the Mastodons to eight hits and just three earned runs today. Tobik did not factor in the decision but fanned seven while allowing only two runs over five innings. Ross (1-0) picked up the victory after striking out three and conceding one earned run over three frames. Jones earned his first career save after registering two punchouts in a scoreless ninth.
Wade Collins continued his hot streak to start the 2013 season, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI’s. Grant Glasser (2-for-4) also produced his third multi-hit game of the season while scoring and driving in a run. Byron Johann added an RBI while Brent Morris, Matt Haynes and Wes Piersall each crossed the plate for the Skyhawks (1-5).
UT Martin head coach Bubba Cates was impressed with the composure of his pitching staff, who produced double-digit strikeouts for the third time in the last four games.
“Dan gave us a good start and kept us in the game,” Cates said. “Chris got off to a slow start but he settled in and filled his role. Stu is getting more comfortable on the mound and his fastball was very good today.”
The UT Martin offense also produced several timely hits, three of which went for extra-bases.
“We had some good at-bats today,” Cates said. “Wade and Grant have really been swinging the bat well and we saw much of the same today.”
Tobik set the tone early, closing out a perfect top of the first with back-to-back strikeouts. The Skyhawks struck for two runs in the bottom-half of the inning. Matt Young singled and Brent Morris followed with a walk. Collins then laced a double to center, plating Young. The next batter – Johann – grounded out to second, scoring Morris.
The Mastodons pushed across a run in both the second and third innings to tie the game at 2-all. The Skyhawks answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third. Glasser led things off with a single then advanced into scoring position by stealing second base. Collins then singled to right to push UT Martin ahead 3-2.
After Tobik kept IPFW off the scoreboard in the fourth, the Skyhawks added an insurance run in the bottom-half of the inning. Piersall singled up the middle with one out, then came around to score when Glasser smacked a double off the right field wall.
However, IPFW scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 4-all. Haynes ignited a rally in the bottom half, leading off with a double to right center. He advanced to third on a fielder’s choice then crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make the score 5-4.
Ross and Jones would make that score hold up. Ross retired seven straight – including back-to-back three-up, three-down innings in the seventh and eighth. Jones began the ninth with a pair of strikeouts before closing out the game by inducing a foulout to second.
These two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday, Feb. 24 beginning at 11 a.m. at Skyhawk Field. The first game will consist of nine innings while the back end of the doubleheader will be a seven-inning contest.