By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A ninth-inning rally prevented the Tennessee Tech baseball team from claiming a series sweep to open Ohio Valley Conference play Saturday afternoon, as UT Martin (3-12, 1-2) defeated the Golden Eagles (9-5, 2-1) at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex, 4-3.
The Skyhawks jumped on the scoreboard right out of the gate, gathering a leadoff home run to take a 1-0 lead in the first. Tech quickly answered with three runs in the bottom of the second, however, earning a 3-1 advantage.
Junior John Ham kicked off the frame with a solo bomb to center field, his fourth home run of the series. After right fielder Nick Osborne reached on fielding error, senior catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea delivered with the bat, hammering a two-run shot to left field for the 3-1 lead.
UT Martin took back a run the first with another solo dinger, but starter Devin Lancaster, backed by a brilliant defensive display by the infield for much of the contest, held the visitors at bay for the next four innings. Lancaster allowed just two earned runs while covering seven innings in total for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagle defense turned three double plays and gathered several key plays throughout the day to hold the Skyhawk offense at bay, including a diving stab by third baseman Trevor Putzig. Kaleiwahea also threw out a runner trying to steal second and picked off a runner at first base in the contest.
In the top of the ninth, UT Martin's Collin Edwards evened the score at 3-3 with a solo home run to center field. Tech closer Ethan Roberts managed back-to-back outs before the Skyhawk's Carson Shrode ripped a single off of his foot. Billy Edwards then delivered the game-winning hit, tripling to left center field off the glove of a diving effort from Tech's Collin Harris.
Konnor Aherin entered in the ninth and earned his first save of the year for the Skyhawks.
The Golden Eagles will remain home for a two-game midweek series against West Virginia, beginning with a 6 p.m. CT contest on Tuesday evening.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information