RICHMOND, Ky. – Dalton Potts and Carter Smith carried a shutout into the ninth inning this afternoon to help The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team to a 5-1 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Eastern Kentucky at Turkey Hughes Field.
Potts earned his team-high fourth victory of the season after twirling six shutout innings and allowing just four hits. Smith then finished off the game by tossing three innings, conceding just one run on two hits while fanning four to earn his first career save.
Offensively, UT Martin (10-25, 3-15 OVC) was led by Grant Glasser, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored out of the leadoff spot. Hagen Nelson scored once and drove in a run, while Luis Paublini also collected an RBI.
The Skyhawks also received a big lift out of freshman catcher Drew Erie, who made his first start of the season today. The Lebanon native doubled, walked, scored a run and threw out a pair of would-be basestealers to help keep the Colonels off the scoreboard.
UT Martin was able to grab the early advantage, scoring once in the top of the second. Nico Zych sliced a one-out double to right field, then stole third base. Nelson would pick up the RBI on a groundout to give the Skyhawks a 1-0 lead.
That run would be plenty of support for Potts, who pitched a pair of baserunners in the second inning and received some help from his defense as they turned a double play in the third. Erie erased a baserunner in the fourth and Potts took care of the rest, recording an inning-ending strikeout.
The Skyhawks came right back with another run in the top of the fifth. Nelson singled up the middle with one away and advanced to third when Erie ripped the first pitch he saw for a double down the left field line. Nelson would score on a passed ball and Erie would come around to score on a clutch two-out single by Glasser that made the score 3-0 in UT Martin’s favor.
Potts stranded a runner on third by inducing his third groundout of the inning in the fifth. The Colonels threatened in the sixth, as the first two batters reached. However, a fielder’s choice, caught stealing and groundout back to the pitcher kept the shutout intact in what would be Pott’s final frame.
Smith struck out a pair in the seventh, keeping the momentum in UT Martin’s favor just in time for the Skyhawks to tack on two more runs in the top of the eighth. Glasser doubled to left center with one out and advanced to third on a Sonny Mastromatteo infield single. After a pitching change, Byron Johann walked to load the bases and Paublini perfectly executed a squeeze play to bring in Glasser. Mastromatteo would later come around to score on a wild pitch to extend the Skyhawk lead to 5-0.
Smith pitched around a two-out double in the eighth by ringing up a called third strike for the third out of the inning. Eastern Kentucky would get on the scoreboard via a one-out pinch-hit homer in the ninth but Smith kept his composure to induce a foulout and game-ending strikeout to cap off the win.
The Skyhawks wrap up a five-game road swing on Tuesday, April 16 when they travel to Southern Illinois. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.