UT Martin Baseball homers twice but drops close contest at Memphis
Caleb Hobson and Jack Culumovic each went yard this evening for the UT Martin baseball team but a three-run bottom of the fourth inning proved to be the difference as Memphis claimed a 4-2 win at FedEx Park.
In addition to his home run, Hobson also doubled, walked and stole his 27th base of the season tonight for the Skyhawks (13-29). Culumovic cranked his team-best ninth homer of the season as both he and Hobson had two-hit nights at the dish.
The UT Martin bullpen was on point this evening as the trio of Baylor Jones, Campbell Cleveland and Zach Wager each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. They took over for Skyhawk starting pitcher Jordan Armstrong (2-5), who struck out three batters over five frames.
Armstrong retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, sitting the Tigers (21-20) down on seven combined pitches. After Memphis scratched out a run on a sacrifice fly in the second, UT Martin evened the score in its next turn up at the plate.
After two quick outs, Hobson creamed an 0-1 offering beyond the wall in left center for his fourth longball of the spring and third over his last eight games.
Armstrong threw up a zero on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, allowing the Skyhawks to take their first lead of the evening. Culumovic welcomed a Tiger reliever with a solo blast to put UT Martin on top by a 2-1 margin.
Memphis scored three times in the fourth, getting a go-ahead two-run single with two away in the inning.
The Skyhawks placed a runner in scoring position in four of the final five innings but could not manufacture any more offense. Hobson walked and stole second in the top of the fifth but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Will Smith single.
Armstrong kept the Tigers off the scoreboard once again in the bottom of the fifth, his final inning of work for the night.
In the top of the sixth, Hunter McLean singled with one out before stealing second base. However, Memphis got out of the inning unscathed. Jones took over in the bottom half and was sharp, inducing a pair of groundouts to go along with a strikeout.
Hobson’s double occurred in the seventh but the Tigers once again worked through a potential jam to keep the score at 4-2. It was Cleveland’s turn to shine in the bottom half as the junior right-hander from Auburn, Ala. kept UT Martin within striking distance.
Wager followed with yet another impressive outing in the bottom of the eighth. Blaze Bell doubled with one out in the top of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate but Memphis held on for the win.
The Skyhawks resume OVC play this weekend when they host the Morehead State Eagles for a three-game series that starts Friday.
(UTM Sports Information)