EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A five-run offensive outburst in the fourth inning propelled the University of Tennessee at Martin to their fourth straight Ohio Valley Conference victory on Friday afternoon, as the Skyhawks knocked off SIU Edwardsville 9-5.
“It was a really quality win on a Friday night,” said head coach Rick Robinson. “The hitters did a great job of making adjustments after the first time through the order and Winston Cannon gave us another solid start.”
Neither team was able to break through in the first three innings, but it was UT Martin who took the first lead of the ballgame with five runs in the fourth. Creighton Eldridge picked up an RBI on a walk, followed by a two-run double from senior shortstop Josh Hauser. Ben Aslett tallied an RBI-groundout, while freshman Connor Aube continued his solid week with an RBI-single to put the Skyhawks in front 5-0.
SIU Edwardsville (17-20, 6-13 OVC) responded with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to trim the margin to 5-2 in favor of UT Martin.
UT Martin (15-20, 5-11 OVC) put the game out of reach in the seventh inning, tacking on four more runs to give the visitors the 9-2 advantage. Tyler Albright picked up his team-high 11th double in the inning to drive home a run. The second baseman scored in the very next at-bat when senior Ryan Helgren drilled a single through the left side to extend the Skyhawk lead to 7-2. Helgren came home a wild pitch, and catcher Keylen Steen picked up yet another RBI to build on his strong week to give UT Martin the comfortable lead.
The Cougars added a run in the eighth and two in the ninth, but it was not enough as the Skyhawks held on to claim their third straight victory overall and fourth straight OVC win, 9-5.
Cannon (4-2) turned in his second straight stellar outing in conference play, tossing 5.0 innings without allowing an earned run. Alex Evans pitched 3.0 innings in relief to hold the Skyhawk lead, while Collin Edwards closed the game out in the ninth. Nelson Martz (4-4) was saddled with the loss for SIUE.
Offensively, Helgren (2-3, two runs), Aube (2-5, one RBI), Albright (2-5, one RBI), Wessling (2-5, two runs) and Steen (2-4, one RBI) all notched multiple hits in the victory for the Skyhawks. Senior Dan Kerwin extended his hitting streak to a season-high 15 games.
These two programs will return to action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.