For the fourth time in the last five games, the UT Martin baseball team came out on top as the Skyhawks edged out Arkansas-Pine Bluff by a 3-2 margin at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
UT Martin (15-20) scored all three runs in the top of the seventh inning as five Skyhawk hurlers limited the Golden Lions to five hits for the contest.
Christian Hall (run scored, RBI) and Noah Thigpen (second multi-hit game of the season, RBI) guided UT Martin offensively while Blake Davis (RBI), Wil LaFollette (run scored) and Ethan Whitley (run scored) also contributed to the Skyhawk scoring.
On the hill, Winston Cannon was credited with the victory as he improved to 6-4 on the season after a perfect inning of relief. David Hussey tossed the final two innings and notched his fourth save of the 2021 season in the process. Freshman righty Tucker Reed made his first career start and threw a pair of no-hit innings as part of a pitch-count outing. Seth Petry (scoreless appearance) and Eric Steensma (one run allowed) also each fired two frames out of the UT Martin bullpen.
The Skyhawks did not concede a base hit until the fourth inning as Reed was on point in the first two innings before Steensma shut down Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the third. A two-out RBI triple in the fourth was the Golden Lions’ first hit of the game and made the score 1-0.
Petry stranded a pair of runners in scoring position during the fifth, registering a strikeout and a groundout after Arkansas-Pine Bluff used a double steal to put men on second and third with one away.
Davis erased a big baserunner in the sixth, firing a strike down to third base for a caught stealing after the Golden Lions hit a one-out double.
UT Martin went ahead for good in the seventh, compiling five hits in the inning. Casey Harford and LaFollette each singled before Whitley reached on a fielder’s choice. Hall tied the game at 1-1 with an opposite-field RBI single. Davis then dropped down a perfect bunt single that scored Whitley for the go-ahead run. A big insurance run was added after Thigpen lined a single to center that plated Hall and increased the Skyhawk advantage out to 3-1.
Cannon mowed down Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the seventh before giving way to Hussey. The Golden Lions connected for a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the eighth but Hussey recovered nicely for a clean ninth frame as he nailed down his third save in the last six days.
The Skyhawks return to OVC play at home this weekend, hosting Jacksonville State for a three-game set on April 30-May 1. A single game is set for 5 p.m. on Friday and will be followed by a Saturday doubleheader that will start at 1 p.m.