SKYHAWKS EARN DOUBLEHEADER SPLIT IN A PAIR OF THRILLERS WITH AUSTIN PEAY

April 29, 2017

Game Two: Boxscore     PDF

Game Three: Boxscore     PDF

MARTIN, Tenn. – In one of the most exciting days of the 2017 season, the University of Tennessee at Martin scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to earn a 10-8 victory on their way to splitting a doubleheader with Ohio Valley Conference foe Austin Peay.

Both teams were able to take advantage of a strong gusts blowing out of Skyhawk Field, as the Skyhawks and Governors both blasted five home runs each in the twinbill. Trailing 8-4 entering the ninth inning in game one, a game-tying grand slam from senior Dan Kerwin and a walk-off bomb off the bat of Creighton Eldridge propelled the Skyhawks to conference win number eight on the season.

“We really battled all weekend and I am proud of our guys,” said head coach Rick Robinson. “Great things happen when you play at home and we love playing here at Skyhawk Field. We had some guys come up in big situations and deliver and that’s always good to see. It’s nice to control your own destiny and we have that in front of us. We have three big series left and if we can win two-out-of-three in those series, then you put yourself in good position to make the OVC Tournament, so that’s what we hope to do.”

Game One – UT Martin 10, Austin Peay 8

Austin Peay (19-21, 10-12) opened the scoring in game one with an unearned run in the first inning to take the early 1-0 advantage. An Alex Robles single in the third brought home two more runs for the Governors in the third as UT Martin (19-22, 8-12 OVC) found themselves in an early 3-0 hole.

The first big fly of the day came in the bottom half of the inning came in the Skyhawks’ half of the third as Kerwin launched a two-run shot to deep right field to trim the Austin Peay advantage to 3-2. The blast was the Bradenton, Fla. native’s fourth of the season.

The Governors tacked on a run in the fifth on a balk from UT Martin starting pitcher Dalton Westfall, but it was the Skyhawks who picked up their pitched with a pair of equalizing runs in the bottom half of the inning. Connor Aube singled into left and brought home third baseman Ben Aslett on a miscue from the Governor left fielder Malcom Tipler. Aube later scored as Tyler Albright reached on an error, but picked up his team-leading 28th RBI in the process to knot the game at 4-4.

Austin Peay seized control of the game in the eighth as they pushed across four runs on three home runs in the inning to take what looked like a commanding 8-4 lead late.

That set the stage for a wild bottom of the ninth inning. Aslett and Aube opened the inning with back-to-back base knocks. Albright then reached on a walk setting the stage for the Skyhawk three-hole hitter Kerwin. The designated hitter did not disappoint as he roped a deep ball out over the left-center wall for an equalizing grand slam to tie the game 8-8.

Tanner Wessling extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the next at-bat before Eldridge stepped up to the plate with a chance to win it. On the very first pitch from Governor closer Levi Primasing, the Mansfield, Texas sent the Skyhawks into a frenzy with his walk-off shot over the left field wall, as UT Martin took game one 10-8.

Westfall started on the mound for UT Martin and gave the home team another great outing, allowing just three earned runs, including only allowing three total hits in 6.0 innings. Alex Evans (6-4) relieved Westfall to start the seventh inning and picked up the victory for the Skyhawks. Primasing (1-1) took the loss after surrendering both homers in the ninth.

At the plate, Kerwin (3-5, two home runs, six RBI’s), Aube (3-5, two runs) and Wessling (2-5) all notched multiple hits in the win.

Game Two – Austin Peay 8, UT Martin 5

Riding the momentum from the thrilling victory in the first game of the back-to-back, UT Martin (19-23, 8-13 OVC) opened the scoring in game two with a two-RBI double from senior Ryan Helgren. It was the Columbia, Tenn. native’s 26th and 27th RBI on the season and it put the home squad ahead early 2-0.

Austin Peay (20-21, 11-12) picked up a run in the fourth on an RBI-sacrifice fly from Governor right fielder Chase Hamilton to trim the UT Martin lead to 2-1.

Eldridge picked up right where he left off in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff bomb out to left to extend the Skyhawk lead to 3-1. It was the center fielder’s third homer of the series and team-leading eighth of the season.

The Governors battled back to tie the game in the top of the fifth on a two-run homer by starting pitcher Robles to square things 3-3. It was Austin Peay who took their first lead off the ballgame in the next inning as the visitors pushed across two more runs to gain the 5-3 advantage.

Senior shortstop Josh Hauser knocked a single through the left side in the bottom of the sixth to score Eldridge from second base and bring the Skyhawks within one, 5-4. It was the Belvidere, Ill. native’s 14th run batted in on the year.

The visiting squad earned some separation from UT Marin in the seventh with three runs to make the spread 8-4 in favor of Austin Peay. Hamilton launched a three-run blast off of Skyhawk reliever Kyle Laberge for the big hit in the inning and for the second time today put UT Martin in a four-run deficit late in the game.

Freshman Aube launched his first career home run in the bottom half of the inning in hopes of sparking a Skyhawk rally late, but his solo blast was all the scoring as UT Martin dropped the second game of the doubleheader 8-5.

Peyton Cain (1-4) picked up the loss for the Skyhawks as he tossed a solid six innings, allowing five earned runs and struck out three Governors. Robles (4-7) showed his versatility both picking up the win for Austin Peay, as well as hitting for the cycle at the plate.

Eldridge (3-4, two runs), Aube (2-5, one home run) and Helgren (2-4, two RBI’s) all recorded multiple hits in the losing effort.

The Skyhawks will play another five games this coming week beginning with a date with Jackson natives Union on Tuesday, May 2 at Skyhawk Field. First pitch for that one is slated for 6 p.m.