UNION CITY, Tenn. – Tyler Albright singled in Creighton Eldridge in the ninth and then scored the winning run three batters later in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s 4-3 comeback victory over Buffalo on Sunday afternoon.
The Skyhawks trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth when Eldridge drew a leadoff walk. Senior Josh Hauser laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Eldridge to second base and set the stage for Albright. The Algonquin, Ill. native laced a single into right to score Eldridge and pull the Skyhawks even 3-3. After a Ryan Helgren walk and Tanner Wessling hit-by-pitch to load the bases, Dan Kerwin hit a grounder back to Buffalo closer Logan Harista who sent a throw wide of his catcher Kyle Brennan to give UT Martin the 4-3 win.
“Albright’s hit the ball well all weekend,” said head coach Rick Robinson. “Our two freshmen (Connor Aube and Anthony Adduci) did a really good job of swinging the bat as well. Overall, I thought it was a very successful weekend.”
Adduci and Aube both kick started the Skyhawk offense in the fourth inning with back-to-back singles. The speedy runners combined with a hard ground ball from Eldridge forced an errant throw from Bulls first baseman Andrew Taft into left field, as Adduci scampered home to put UT Martin on top 1-0. Tyler Albright then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Aube and give the Skyhawks a 2-0 advantage.
Buffalo (1-2) quickly responded as they laced four hits off UT Martin starting pitcher Jake Patzner in the top of the fifth. The Bulls turned those hits into three runs and took over the lead 3-2. Neither team was able to break through until the late UT Martin rally in the ninth.
Patzner got the nod in the rubber match today going five innings, allowing just three runs and striking out seven Buffalo hitters. Alex Evans picked up where he left off last year throwing four scoreless innings in relief and punching out six Bulls en route to his first win of the season. Harasta picked up the loss for Buffalo.
Albright finished the day 3-3, with two RBI’s and a .500 average to lead a strong showing from the UT Martin offense throughout the weekend. Wessling and Adduci also notched .500 averages and nine Skyhawk hitters notched multiple hits over the three-game series. This weekend was UT Martin’s first home opening series win since 2010 when the Skyhawks swept IPFW in a three-game series.
UT Martin returns to action next weekend as they host a three-game set against Southwestern Athletic Conference foe Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 24-26. First pitch for Friday afternoon’s opener against the Golden Lions is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Kevin Weaks/Union City Messenger