UTM scores in opening frame, adds two more four-inning bursts during Game 3 shootout with Catamounts

 UTM scores in opening frame, adds two more four-inning bursts during Game 3 shootout with Catamounts

Continuing the offensive-minded nature of the team’s three-game series at Western Carolina over the weekend, the UT Martin baseball club saw two very productive innings behind the plate in the 5th and 9th frames on Sunday afternoon, eventually taking a 14-9 defeat against the Catamounts in a game displaying 23 hits and 24 runs combined.

As the Skyhawks hammered four doubles from four different hitters and one homer off the bat of third-baseman Hunter McLean (the sophomore’s second long-ball of the year), the Catamounts were just able to withstand a late UTM rally in Sunday’s finale, moving the visitors’ record to 7-11 just over one month into the season.

Sophomore right fielder Wil LaFollette carried over an impressive two-game showing yesterday by swinging the outing’s first RBI in only the fourth at-bat of the day, sending a laser down the left side of the field to score Casey Harford. Counting Saturday’s doubleheader, LaFollette ends the series with a total of five hits, four runs, and four RBI.

The Skyhawks dished out some more offensive weapons in the top of the 5th, notching their second score of the contest with the bases loaded on a fielder’s choice scenario. Catcher Chance Merithew was able to race to home plate on an infield swing by Harford, paving the way for senior Ethan Whitley to blast a three-RBI double to left-center to bring UTM within a pair at 7-5.

In their final turn of the weekend, the Skyhawks managed to make a dent in Western Carolina’s lead throughout the 9th frame, although coming just shy of completing the comeback. Appearing as a pinch hitter, second-year slugger Cameron Brady bounced a leftfield double that brought LaFollette home, setting the stage for McLean’s three-score bomb in the very next at-bat.

Accumulating 10 hits as a whole for a total of 24 over the past 48 hours, UT Martin brings their season sum to 143. Whitley and McLean synced up for six of the Skyhawks’ nine RBI in the Western Carolina rubber match, while the entire roster now has 31 doubles next to 17 home runs to show for on their 2022 resume.

Cementing his second start on the mound in the past six days, junior Jacob Smith was backed up by the trio of Noah Walters, Trey Ricko, and J. Henry Hobson. That quartet struck out six WCU batters as the Skyhawks wrapped up the first-time-ever sequence of games with the Catamounts as the visiting side.

Only one more non-conference bout stands in UTM’s immediate path until OVC play officially begins, scheduled for this Tuesday in Martin against the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M. Weather permitting, the game’s first pitch will be held at 5:00 p.m. from Skyhawk Field.

(UTM Sports Information)