Nico Zych drove in three runs and the University of Tennessee at Martin pitching staff tossed its first shutout of the season in a convincing 4-0 Skyhawk victory over in-state rival Lipscomb this evening at Ken Dugan Field.
Batting out of the No. 9 hole tonight, Zych reached base three times on a pair of singles and a walk. As a result, the junior out of Monee, Ill. collected a season-high three RBI’s to go along with his fourth multi-hit performance in 2014.
Isaac Carrel started at designated hitter tonight and scored a pair of runs, while Jake Deason (run scored), Chase Young (run scored) and Phil Sorensen (RBI) also stood out offensively for UT Martin (8-36), who has won four of its last seven games.
Alex Boshers (1-2) helped the Skyhawks post their first shutout since a 1-0 win over IPFW on Feb. 24, 2013. Pitching in his hometown, Boshers went seven strong innings (a season-high), allowing just six singles with three strikeouts against zero walks. Stu Jones effectively worked the eighth inning and John Houston shut the door with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.
In addition to its first shutout in 88 games, the Skyhawk pitching staff did not concede an extra-base hit for the second time this season (previously done at UAB in the season-opener on Feb. 14) and did not issue a walk for the fourth time this season (other instances at Jacksonville State on March 7, vs. Murray State on March 15 and vs. Missouri State on April 25).
Lipscomb (27-22) led off the bottom of the first with a single but five pitches later, Boshers was out of the inning thanks to a double play and flyout to right.
After a one-out single in the second, Boshers entered a groove – as he retired six straight Lipscomb batters. Boshers’ dominant stretch allowed the Skyhawks to take a lead in the top of the fifth.
Carrel and Deason each singled to begin the fifth and were moved into scoring position when Mikey Nantze perfectly executed a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. Zych then jumped on the first pitch he saw for a single up the middle to give the Skyhawks a 2-0 advantage.
Those two runs would prove to be enough for Boshers, who pitched around a one-out single in the fifth and avoided trouble once again in the sixth by stranding a pair of Bison runners on the basepaths.
The Skyhawks added an insurance run in each of the next two innings. Carrel was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh and advanced to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Deason. Zych then stepped to the plate and lined a two-out single to center to plate Carrel and make the score 3-0.
Boshers then polished off his evening with a lights-out seventh, racking up a pair of strikeouts and inducing a groundout to shortstop in a perfect frame.
Young doubled to lead off the eighth and two outs later, Sorensen turned on the first pitch he saw for an RBI single through the right side.
Lipscomb was able to tally a one-out single in the eighth but Jones erased any kind of potential threat with a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Houston then induced a groundout and followed with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth to clinch the victory for UT Martin.
The Skyhawks return to Ohio Valley Conference play with a three-game weekend set at Austin Peay on May 9-11.