MARTIN, Tenn. — For the first time since 2011, The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team has reached the 20-win mark as it pounded out big hits early to defeat regional Division-II foe Union, 9-2.
“It’s nice to reach a milestone like 20 wins,” said head coach Rick Robinson. “We can’t be satisfied with just getting here and with 11 games left, the goal is to win as many as we can to put ourselves in a position to make the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.”
UT Martin (20-23, 8-13 OVC) was able to rack up four runs in the first inning, as junior slugger Creighton Eldridge provided the first runs of the game by smacking a two run double to plate seniors Dan Kerwin and Ryan Helgren. A Josh Hauser single brought home Eldirdge to put the Skyhawks up 3-0 followed by a base knock by freshman Robert Worley to plate Hauser pushing the UT Martin lead out to 4-0.
The UT Martin second inning looked to be headed in the same direction as the first frame, as the Skyhawks collected five hits in the inning, four of which came with two outs. Kerwin found a hole up the middle for a single before Helgren and Eldridge poked balls through the left and right sides of the infield, respectively. With the bases loaded, Keylen Steen singled up the right side driving in Kerwin and Helgren to extend the margin to 6-0 in favor of the home team.
The Skyhawks found one run in the fourth inning, as Eldridge singled with two outs before Steen doubled to drive him in pushing the lead to a 7-1 margin.
Connor Aube led off the sixth frame by ripping a single before a pair of walks issued to Kerwin and Helgren. Eldridge kept up the hard work by collecting a single to drive in Aube. A sacrifice fly by Keylen Steen put the final run on the board for the Skyhawks allowing Kerwin to score putting the squad up 9-1.
Shane Seckinger came on in relief of Skyhawk starter Sam Folks to put away the Bulldogs and give UT Martin win number 20 on the season. Folks was strong for the second straight outing, tossing 6.2 innings allowing just two earned runs and fanning seven Union hitters. Seckinger tossed a scoreless 2.1 to close the contest.
At the plate Eldridge led the way recording a 4-5 day, while driving in three runs. Helgren (2-3, two runs), Steen (2-3, three RBI’s) and Ben Aslett (2-4) all racked up multiple hits in the victory for the Skyhawks.
UT Martin returns to action tomorrow at 2 p.m., as they travel to Huntsville, Ala. to take on the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.