The top four batters in the University of Tennessee at Martin lineup combined for seven of the Skyhawks’ eight hits tonight but Stephen F. Austin came away with the 9-4 win at Jaycees Field.
Chase Young, Taylor Douglas and Phil Sorensen each had multi-hit outings for the Skyhawks (1-8). Zack Malone drove in a pair of runs while Jake Deason reached base three times on walks and scored twice for UT Martin.
On the mound, Taylor Cox (0-3) fanned six batters in six innings but was charged with the loss after conceding six earned runs. John Skubina finished off the game with two innings, allowing only one earned run.
The Skyhawks put baserunners on the corners with just one out in the top of the first but couldn’t push across a run. Stephen F. Austin (4-5) then scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take the early lead.
Cox struck out back-to-back Lumberjacks to end the second inning and made short work of Stephen F. Austin in the third frame.
UT Martin got on the scoreboard in the fourth, as a Deason leadoff walk got things going. He came in to score two batters later when Malone reached on an error. After the Skyhawks got a runner thrown out on the basepaths, three straight UT Martin hitters reached base safely with two away to extend the rally. Max Balter drew a five-pitch walk while Young singled to third base to load the bases. Douglas then singled to right to score Malone but Balter was thrown out at the plate while trying to make the score 4-3.
A Stephen F. Austin bases-clearing three-run double in the fourth inning stalled the UT Martin comeback attempt momentarily but Cox recovered with scoreless frames in the fifth and sixth.
UT Martin added a pair of runs in the fifth. Sorensen pulled a one-out single into the gap in right center and Deason followed with a four-pitch walk. Two wild pitches later, Sorensen came in to make the score 7-3. A Stephen F. Austin error allowed Deason to cross the plate and pull the Skyhawks within three runs after four-and-a-half innings of play.
The Lumberjacks then tacked on one run in the seventh and one run in the eighth to provide the final margin of 9-4.
It was announced this evening that because of the threat of inclement weather, the game scheduled for Sunday, March 2 has been moved up to Saturday, March 1. Game 2 will start at 2 p.m., while a seven-inning game will follow afterwards for the series finale.