Debut pitching gem provides UTM with first diamond win of season
Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 1:37 pm
The 6-5 Rodgers, who earned All-Mid-Florida Conference honors last season at St. John’s River Community College in Palatka, Fla., limited the Salukis to four hits while throwing 71 of his 116 pitches for strikes.
“Jarrell was impressive,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “He has been injured all fall and I haven’t seen him throw much, but he has worked hard with (assistant coach) Trevor Berryhill. He really mixed his pitches up, threw strikes and was a competitor out there.”
With Rodgers’ zero runs allowed on Tuesday afternoon, that brings the Skyhawk starting pitchers’ ERA down to 1.04 in 26 innings through the season’s first four games.
What impressed Cates the most about the pitching performance, however, is that the Skyhawks didn’t allow a single hitter that led off an inning to reach base.
“That takes away any ability to create big innings,” Cates said. “That really gave us a lift and our ability to get timely hits and score insurance runs late also came up big for us at the end of the game.”
On offense, Matt Haynes smacked two more hits to bring his season batting average up to a team-best .400, as the sophomore from Jackson also scored and drove in a run. Cody Terry tallied two RBI while Trey Karlen and Wes Patterson each drove in a run for UT Martin.
Rodgers allowed just three baserunners through the first four innings – none of whom advanced past second base.
Meanwhile, the Skyhawk offense put up a crooked number through the first two frames. Karlen led off the game by reaching on an error, and made a sound baserunning decision to advance to second base on a foul out. Karlen moved to third base on a groundout one batter later, then came around to score on a Patterson single to make the score 1-0 after one inning.
In the second frame, Haynes reached second base on a leadoff single and error, followed by a walk to Ben Brewer. Cory Stooksbury attempted a sacrifice bunt, but when Southern Illinois pitcher Andrew Bever tried to force out Haynes at third base, he was too late and UT Martin had the bases loaded with no outs. Karlen and Terry then produced back-to-back sacrifice flies to put the Skyhawks on top 3-0.
After retiring seven straight batters, Rodgers ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the fifth. With two outs, he gave up a walk and double before retiring the Saluki’s top hitter Chris Murphy on a flyout.
Rodgers got two quick outs to begin the sixth before allowing consecutive walks on 3-2 counts. However, he worked himself out of trouble once again by inducing Kollin Dowdy to foul out to first base.
Rodgers needed just 11 pitches to get through the seventh inning, retiring the side in order to keep the margin at three runs before the Skyhawks struck for one run in the seventh inning. Two-out hits by Stooksbury, Karlen and Terry put another run on the scoreboard to make the score 4-0 in UT Martin’s favor through seven innings.
In the eighth inning, Rodgers bent but did not break, ending his night with an emphatic called strikeout. A single by Jake Welch and consecutive errors loaded the bases with two outs and the tying run at the plate. Rodgers escaped out of the jam unscathed, ringing up Blake Pinnon to end the threat while leaving to a chorus of cheers from the Skyhawk faithful.
Haynes singled home Milligan, who reached base on a hit-by-pitch, in the eighth inning to put the Skyhawks on top 5-0 heading into the final frame.
Patterson was counted on to close the door on a Saluki comeback, and the 6-2 senior was up to the challenge. He allowed one run before getting Murphy to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and give UT Martin its first win of the 2011 campaign.
The Skyhawks will continue their long homestand with a three-game series this weekend against Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State. The first game of the series is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. at Skyhawk Field.
WUTM 90.3 “The Hawk” will broadcast the Friday and Sunday games of the series. Fans can listen online by clicking on the “Listen Live” link on the upper right-hand corner of this link: http://www.utm.edu/organizations/wutm/.