Skyhawk freshmen gain valuable experience on the diamond
Posted: Friday, March 4, 2011 2:44 pm
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin fell behind early in Tuesday’s game against the Evansville Purple Aces and could not recover, falling 16-3 at Skyhawk Field.
Trey Karlen had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for UT Martin, which falls to 2-6 on the season. Phil Sorensen added a double, while Hagen Nelson, Kyle Bargery and Hunter Britcliffe each picked up their first career hits for the Skyhawks in the loss. Eric Ranson also added his first career RBI for UT Martin.
On the mound, the newcomer trio of Cody Miller, Stu Jones and Joey Ivy combined for 3.2 innings without allowing an earned run in relief. Ivy recorded three strikeouts in his lone inning pitched.
Despite the setback, Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates saw positives in so many new players stepping up and making some big plays late.
“Anytime we can get those guys on the field, they can feel a little more comfortable the next time they get out there,” Cates said. “One of our goals is to make these guys feel as good in a ballgame as they do in practice. We got to see a couple more freshman pitchers on the mound and we had a bunch of guys have a lot of quality at-bats in a row and they gave us some energy late.”
Greg Wallace hit a two-out solo homer in the first inning to give Evansville a 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Wallace struck again with two outs, blasting a three-run home run to put the Purple Aces ahead 4-0.
Evansville tacked on another run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth, then tallied four runs in each of the next two innings to take a 13-0 lead.
The Skyhawks got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh inning. Chase Okey and Drew Mason drew walks to begin the inning. Adam Stacy and Matt Young each came on to pinch run, and the bases were loaded when Britcliffe drew a walk in his first plate appearance. Karlen then ripped a sharp single through the left side on the first pitch of his at-bat to give Karlen his team-best seventh and eighth RBI of the season.
After the Purple Aces scored three unearned runs in the top of the ninth, UT Martin got one run back in the bottom half. Britcliffe, Nelson and Bargery all singled, loading the bases for Ranson. Ranson then worked for a walk, plating Britcliffe to provide the final 16-3 scoring margin.
The Skyhawks will return to action for a four-game home weekend series against South Dakota State on Friday through Sunday. First pitch on Friday from Skyhawk Field is set for 3 p.m.