EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – For the first time since the 2011 campaign, the University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team recorded consecutive Ohio Valley Conference sweeps with its 3-2 win at SIU Edwardsville on Sunday afternoon. The Skyhawks were a perfect 5-0 this week, which was capped off by the first road sweep for UT Martin in exactly five years.
Just as they had done all week long, the Skyhawks recorded some keys outs with opposing runners in scoring position, and also picked up some timely hitting to propel the program to their sixth straight conference win (the most consecutive conference wins since joining the Division-I ranks), and put the squad right back in the thick of things for OVC Tournament contention.
“This was a great weekend for the program,” said head coach Rick Robinson. “This is the kind of weekend we needed to continue the fight for an OVC Tournament appearance. Peyton Cain did a great job on the mound today, as he picked up both a win and a save in the series. I thought we swung the bats well all weekend, but particularly well today. Although it didn’t result in a bunch of runs being scored, we did what we needed to do to win.”
UT Martin (17-20, 7-11 OVC) emphasized getting on the board first all weekend and today was no different as the Skyhawks pushed two runs across in the top of the third. An RBI-single from Tanner Wessling with the bases loaded gave UT Martin the lead. Dan Kerwin bounced into a double play the next at-bat, but that allowed Tyler Albright to score, as the Skyhawks took the 2-0 lead.
An Albright single in the fourth inning brought home Creighton Eldridge in the fourth, as UT Martin opened up a 3-0 lead over the Cougars. It was the second baseman’s team-leading 26th RBI on the season.
From there it was all Cain, as the right-hander worked around baserunners all day to shut down the SIUE offense. The Hickory, Miss. native allowed just three hits in the opening five frames for UT Martin. The Cougars picked up a run in the bottom of the sixth, but the damage was limited to just one as the Skyhawks maintained their 3-1 advantage.
Alex Evans came on in relief in the seventh inning and did not allow a run to score until the ninth. SIUE made it interesting with in the final frame as they tacked on one run on a Jackson Layton RBI-single, but that was all the offense the home team could manage as UT Martin picked up the 3-2 victory.
Cain (1-3) earned his first win in a Skyhawk uniform to add to his save from yesterday’s win, as he finished today with 6.2 innings pitched, allowing just one earned run. Evans (4) picked up the save as he finished this week with a 2-0 record to go along with today’s closing performance. Danny Ehrsam (3-1) took his first loss of the year for SIUE.
Ryan Helgren continued his hot week with a 2-3 performance for UT Martin, while Albright (2-5, one RBI) and Wessling (2-4, one RBI) also notched multiple base hits in the game.
UT Martin will look to keep the momentum going with a pair of mid-week games this coming week. The Skyhawks will travel to Union on Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m., before returning home to host Alabama A&M on Wednesday, April 26, which is also scheduled for a 6 p.m. start time.