By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team couldn't quite finish off its comeback bid against UT Martin Saturday afternoon, falling to the Skyhawks at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex, 7-5.
UT Martin jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the second inning, using a solo home run from Zack Malone to get on the board first. The Skyhawks added four more in the third inning, taking advantage of a controversial call to start the frame.
Leading off the inning, Jake Deason ripped a ball down the left field line that hit the third base umpire just past the infield dirt. The official raised both arms indicating a foul ball and for play to be called dead. After a quick meeting to discuss the call, the home plate umpire ruled a fair ball and awarded Deason second base.
The Skyhawks took advantage of the decision, gathering three more hits in the inning to tally four runs and take a 5-0 lead.
Tech answered in the bottom of the fourth, using a mammoth of a two-run shot off the bat of Brandon Thomasson to cut the UT Martin advantage to 5-2.
The Golden Eagles grabbed another run in the fifth using a sacrifice fly from Thomasson to make it a 5-3 game. And then the team tied things up in the sixth inning. With a men on first and third and no outs, catcher Jordan Parris laid down a perfect sac bunt that scored a run and advanced Anthony El Chibani to second. Tyler Brazelton drove in the tying run two batters later, ripping a single to left field to even things at 5-5.
Both sides cruised through the seventh inning before UT Martin put themselves in position for the victory. In the top of the eighth, the Skyhawks used a single and stolen base to put a runner in scoring position with one out. Another base hit placed runners on the corners and a wild pitch scored the eventual game-winning run. The team grabbed an insurance run off an error as well, taking a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
The Golden Eagles threatened in the bottom of the ninth, getting two men on with two outs, but a ground ball to the UT Martin shortstop ended comeback bid and gave the Skyhawks a 7-5 victory.
Reliever Carter Smith earned his first win of the season, covering four innings while allowing four hits and two earned runs. Tech senior Stanton Taylor was dealt the hard-luck loss, tossing an inning of relief and allowing just one earned run. Thomasson led all batters with three RBI on the day, going 1-for-4 at the plate.
The rubber match of the series will take place on Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. CT start expected as Chris Chism will take the hill for the Golden Eagles.