Eight-run inning ends UTM’s trek

Eight-run inning ends UTM’s trek
The UT Martin baseball team’s historic run at the six-team Ohio Valley Conference Tournament came to a halt Friday afternoon when Southeast Missouri State scored eight runs in the top of the fourth inning at Pringles Park in Jackson and cruised to a 12-7 victory.
“We played hard, but we didn’t play perfectly,” UT Martin head coach Bubba Cates said. “We need to pitch better, but our guys didn’t give up.”
The Skyhawks finished the season with a 20-36 worksheet and a 1-2 mark in the conference tournament. The Skyhawks suffered a 9-8 loss to No. 3 seed Jacksonville State in the opening round of the tournament Wednesday afternoon, but recovered with a 6-2 victory Thursday to eliminate No. 5 seed Eastern Kentucky.
It was UTM’s first-ever triumph in the OVC Tournament.
The Skyhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Southeast Missouri State and then tacked on a run in the second inning.
Southeast Missouri State chased Skyhawk starter Danny Kelly in the fifth inning and forced the Skyhawks to go to the bullpen, where Willie Frederick faced three batters and gave up one hit, two walks and three runs.
Freshman Colton Young relieved Frederick and kept the Redhawks in check despite giving up three hits and three runs. Young worked 52⁄3 innings.
He walked one and struck out one.
Kelly suffered the loss on the mound for the Skyhawks. He pitched 31⁄3 innings and gave up seven hits, six runs and two walks.
“We knew we were going to have a hard time pitching on the third day,” Cates said. “We knew they (SEMO) had plenty of pitching and they were very good.”
And Cates and the Skyhawks also knew SEMO’s roster included 18 seniors. “Eighteen seniors on one team has to be special for (coach) Mark (Hogan).”
At the plate, the Skyhawks piled up 10 hits, one shy of matching SEMO’s total. Senior Cody Terry led UT Martin with three hits, while senior Trey Karlen and junior Chase Okey had two hits each.
Terry, who had three singles, scored twice and had one RBI. Jordan Owen, Drew Mason, Wes Patterson and Erik Larsen drove in runs for the Skyhawks. Owen was 1-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and an RBI.
“Cody’s been a solid guy,” Cates said. “He’s been unwavering emotionally. That’s comforting for the team and the coach.
“You can get strength from that.”
The Skyhawks will lose six seniors from this year’s squad, Terry, Karlen, Patterson, Mason, Cory Stooksbury and Dylan Cupples.
“We had an outstanding senior class,” Cates said. “We got them here and they helped us get to the tournament and win a game.”

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