MARTIN, Tenn. – On a windy night at Skyhawk Field, the University of Tennessee at Martin dropped an 8-5 decision to in-state rival Belmont on Friday night. The Bruins took the lead back on a three-run home run in the second inning and we able to hang on to claim their fifth consecutive win over the Skyhawks.
UT Martin (8-11, 0-7) started the game with a bang in the bottom of the first, as senior first baseman Ryan Helgren hit a towering bomb over the left field wall to put the Skyhawks in front 1-0. It was the Columbia, Tenn. native’s second homer and 11th RBI of the season.
The Bruins (9-10, 4-3) answered in the second as first baseman Chris Hadden hit his first home run of the season to drive in three runs and put Belmont on top 3-1. The Bruins tacked on two more in the third on an RBI-single from Nick Egli, followed by a Belmont base runner crossing the play on a 6-3 double play turned by UT Martin to extend their lead to 5-1.
The Skyhawks rallied in the fifth as third baseman Ben Aslett doubled to lead off the inning. It was the Melbourne, Australia native’s first extra-base hit at UT Martin. Senior Josh Hauser laced an RBI-single into right one batter later to score Aslett and pull UT Martin within 5-2. Hauser later scampered home on a wild pitch from Bruin starter Tyler Vaughn to get the Skyhawks within two.
Belmont added some insurance in the seventh and eighth, pushing across a total of three runs to pad their lead to 8-3. A Skyhawk rally in their half of the eighth got them within striking distance as the pushed across two runs to cut into the deficit. Pinch-hitting freshman Robert Worley knocked an opposite field single into left to score Tanner Wessling and Connor Aube picked up an RBI on a based loaded hit-by-pitch in the inning, but that was all the Skyhawks could manage as they dropped game one 8-5.
Kyle Laberge (0-2) got the nod for UT Martin and was hit with loss. Freshman Winston Cannon tossed 4.0 innings, allowing only one earned and striking out four Bruin batters. Vaughn (1-4) notched his first victory of the season for Belmont.
Aslett (2-2) was the only Skyhawk to notch multiple hits, while Helgren (11), Worley (5), Aube (6) and Hauser (6) all racked up RBI’s in the loss.
These two programs will head back to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for game-two. First pitch from Skyhawk Field is slated for 3 p.m.