MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team held the lead for the majority of tonight’s game against Morehead State, but the Eagles closed out the game with three unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to claim a 3-1 win at Skyhawk Field.
For the most part, sophomore Carter Smith carved up the Eagles, keeping Morehead State scoreless through six innings. He allowed an unearned run in the seventh before departing in the eighth inning with the score still tied at 1-1. Ultimately, the left-hander out of St. Louis, Mo. was tagged with the loss – falling to 0-3 despite career-highs of 7.1 innings and seven strikeouts while conceding just two earned runs on four hits.
After Morehead State loaded the bases with no outs and threatened to break the game open in the top of the ninth, senior left-hander Trevor Lundgrin entered the game and slammed the door. He chalked up three consecutive strikeouts to give the Skyhawks the momentum heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Senior third baseman Matt Haynes registered two hits to lead UT Martin (10-27, 3-16 Ohio Valley Conference). Haynes also scored the Skyhawks’ lone run while freshman Luis Paublini tallied an RBI for UT Martin, who brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but couldn’t come through.
“Carter continued what he has been doing for us and threw very well once again,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “We just didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a cushion. Trevor got out of a big jam to give us a chance and we sent the winning run to the plate, we just have to do a little bit more.”
Smith stranded a runner on third in the top of the first and retired the side in order in the second, racking up three strikeouts in the first two frames.
That hot start allowed the Skyhawks to take a lead in the bottom of the second. Haynes and Nico Zych each singled with one out to start the rally, followed by a Drew Erie walk that loaded the bases. Paublini then lifted a sacrifice fly out to right field to give UT Martin the 1-0 lead.
Smith then returned to work, retiring the side on only seven pitches in the third. He allowed a pair of base hits in the fourth but held off Morehead State thanks to a heads-up play by his battery mate Erie to catch an Eagle trying to steal.
The Eagles still couldn’t figure out Smith in the fifth, as he pitched around a single and a walk to keep the score at 1-0. Smith then sat Morehead State down in order once again in the sixth before an RBI groundout led to an unearned run scoring in the seventh.
Smith started the eighth inning and recorded a quick out but was removed after a pair of walks. The Eagles then pieced together a pair of two-out runs to take their first lead of the game at 3-1.
After Lundgrin’s heroics in the top of the ninth, the Skyhawks got something going in their final at-bat. Paublini lined a one-out single to left field and advanced to second after Taylor Cox drew a walk. However, Morehead State’s Matt Duncan then entered the contest and induced a flyout to center and popout to short for his second save of the season.
These two teams will resume their series tomorrow at Skyhawk Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.