UTM even in hit department; No. 1 Vanderbilt ‘runs’ ahead

UTM even in hit department; No. 1 Vanderbilt ‘runs’ ahead
The UT Martin baseball squad kept up with the No. 1 team in the nation — Vanderbilt — in the hit department on Monday night
Unfortunately for UTM, though, the Commodores scored four unearned runs in the first inning to set the tone in a 10-3 win at Hawkins Field.
The Skyhawk trio of Phil Sorensen, Erik Larsen and Matt Young led the charge with two hits apiece as UT Martin (5-19) accumulated nine total hits to equal Vandy in that facet of the game.
Chase Okey and Jordan Owen each drove in a run for the Skyhawks, who trailed by only three runs midway through the contest.
Making his first career start, freshman John Skubina was hit with the loss after allowing six runs (two earned) in 21⁄3 innings.
Four UT Martin hurlers combined to allow just three earned runs on six hits over the last 52⁄3 frames.
Danny Kelley tossed 12⁄3 scoreless innings while Willie Frederick allowed one earned run in two innings.
Alec Mills fanned two in his lone inning in relief, while Owen — making his first appearance on the mound since May 13, 2009 — struck out two batters while not allowing a hit to close out the game against the nation’s top-rated team for the Skyhawks.
Sam Lind accumulated three hits and three RBI to lead Vanderbilt (23-3), which was named No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America in its weekly polls released on Monday afternoon.
Commodore starting pitcher TJ Pecoraro earned the victory by allowing one run on four hits in three innings.
The Commodores led 4-0 after the first inning, but the Skyhawks got a run back in the top of the third.
Cory Stooksbury opened the frame with an infield single to the shortstop and then Young followed with a single through the left side.
Trey Karlen drew a walk to load the bases, and Okey lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Stooksbury for UT Martin.
Vanderbilt scored twice in the bottom of the third to go ahead 6-1, but the Skyhawks scrapped their way to two runs over the next two innings to get within striking distance.
Sorensen battled back from an 0-2 count to lace a one-out single in the top of the fourth.
He came around to score on a single and error by Larsen to make the score 6-2.
Okey was issued a leadoff walk in the fifth and then crossed the plate on a gapper off the bat of Owen for his first career triple at the college level.
The Commodores scored on a balk in the fifth and tallied another run in the sixth on an error to take an 8-3 advantage.
UT Martin put a man in scoring position in the seventh and had two baserunners aboard in the eighth but couldn’t come up with a clutch hit.
After Vanderbilt put its first three men on base for two runs in the bottom of the eighth, Owen was brought in from the bullpen.
The 6-foot-0 junior relished the role of a shutdown reliever, as he fanned the Commodore cleanup hitter and put an end to any other scoring threat by freezing Conrad Gregor on a called strikeout to end the inning.
Okey reached base for the second time with a single up the middle in the top of the ninth and advanced all the way to third base with two outs before Navery Moore recovered to record the final out of the contest for Vanderbilt.
UT Martin will play in front of its home crowd for the first time in 19 days when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference foe Murray State for a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Skyhawk Field.  
UTM and Murray State face off in the third game of the series on Sunday afternoon at 1.
Then, the Skyhawks hit the road again for a single game at Belmont next Wednesday.
That contest is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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