CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team struck first this afternoon at Capaha Field, but a six-run fourth inning by Southeast Missouri gave the Redhawks a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in a 9-6 Skyhawk loss.
Offensively, senior outfielder Byron Johann pushed his hitting streak out to 13 games, tallying an RBI and a run scored out of the No. 3 hole today. Brent Morris went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while Wade Collins drove in a pair of runs as well. Grant Glasser and Matt Young each scored once and drove in a run while Sonny Mastromatteo crossed the plate once for UT Martin (8-18, 1-10 Ohio Valley Conference).
Taylor Cox was hit with the loss today after allowing eight runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings. The sophomore left-hander fanned five Redhawks while throwing 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes. Cater Smith conceded just one run while striking out four over 3.2 relief innings, while John Skubina (0.2 innings) also notched a scoreless relief appearance for the Skyhawks.
Cox was on early, racking up three strikeouts while facing just one batter over the minimum through two scoreless innings. That momentum allowed UT Martin to take a lead in the top of the third.
Morris led the third off with a double down the left field line and scored when an error was committed on the next play. After Mastromatteo advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nico Zych, Glasser doubled down the right field line to give the Skyhawks an early 2-0 advantage.
However, Southeast Missouri would even the score in the bottom of the third and go ahead in the bottom of the fourth. The Redhawks pushed across six runs in the fourth – five of which were unearned – to take an 8-2 lead after four innings of play.
The Skyhawks answered right back with four runs in the top of the fifth. Just as he did in the third, Morris ripped a double to lead off the frame and spark the rally. With two away, Young guided a 1-1 pitch through the right side for an RBI single. Johann then drove a double down the left field line to score Glasser, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. With a pair of runners in scoring position, it was Collins who delivered the third straight clutch two-out hit, as he singled to center to plate Young and Johann to pull UT Martin within two runs at 8-6.
Smith then shut down Southeast Missouri for three-plus innings. The sophomore out of St. Louis retired six straight and 11 of 12 batters at one point, retiring the side in order in the fifth and seventh innings. The Redhawks were able to add one more run in the eighth before a runner was gunned down at the plate thanks to fantastic throws by Glasser and Zych.
Down to their final three outs, the Skyhawks couldn’t manage a baserunner in the top of the ninth against Southeast Missouri closer Bobby Hurst, who picked up his fourth save of the season while clinching the victory for Redhawk starting pitcher Will Spitzfaden (3-2).
These two teams will wrap up the three-game series on Saturday, March 30. For the second straight day, the start time has been altered to avoid Mother Nature, as tomorrow’s game will now take place at noon.