The UT Martin baseball squad hosts Ohio Valley Conference newcomer Belmont in a league showdown this weekend at Skyhawk Field. The two teams will clash today at 6 p.m., followed by games Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Although this is Bel-mont’s inaugural year in the OVC, the Skyhawks are very familiar with their in-state rival as they have faced the Bruins 38 times since 1998. UTM holds a 10-9 advantage in home games over that span.
Offensively, the Sky-hawks (8-20, 1-11 OVC) are led by two of the top hitters in the league in seniors Wade Collins and Byron Johann.
Collins ranks in the top seven in the OVC in RBI’s (24, sixth), slugging percentage (.541, sixth) and batting average (.347, seventh). He has hit safely in 25 of his 28 games this year (including the last 12 games) and is hitting .381 with 16 RBI’s in 12 games against conference opponents.
Meanwhile, Johann ranks fourth in OVC in doubles (10), fifth in batting average (.349) and fifth in slugging percentage (.542).
Against Belmont, UT Martin has announced senior right-hander Dan Tobik (1-3, 5.25 ERA) as its Game 1 starter, followed by Taylor Cox (0-3, 6.31) and Dalton Potts (3-3, 5.52) in Games 2 and 3, respectively. Tobik ranks second in the OVC in strikeouts per nine innings (10.75), fanning 43 batters over 36 frames.
Belmont (21-6, 8-1 OVC) is riding an eight-game winning streak after a 3-1 home win over Evansville on Wednesday.
Jared Breen ranks third in the OVC in batting average (.357) and fourth in on-base percentage (.455) to pace the Bruin offense. Drew Ferguson (OVC-best .492 on-base percentage) and Judah Akers (five homers, third in OVC) also lead Belmont at the plate.
On the mound, the Bruins rank as the top team in the league in ERA (2.92) and opponent batting average (.247).
Probable Game 1 starter Chase Brookshire leads the OVC in ERA (1.15) and ranks second in opponent batting average (.193) and strikeouts (47). Austin Coley (4-0, 3.63 ERA) is slated to start Game 2 while Dan Ludwig (OVC-high six wins, 2.17 ERA) will likely start the series finale.
Belmont’s bullpen is bolstered by Jessie Snod-grass (OVC leader with 20 appearances and .182 opponent average) and Josh Davis (0.77 ERA, nine saves).
Published in The Messenger 4.5.13