The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team notched its fourth straight victory this afternoon with a 5-4 walk-off victory against Ohio Valley Conference leader Belmont at Skyhawk Field.
With the win, the Skyhawks (8-16, 4-7 OVC) clinched at least a series win over Belmont for the first series win over a conference opponent since UT Martin defeated Tennessee Tech on March 23-25, 2012.
The Skyhawks were able to nab the win today behind a 10th inning double off the bat of Andrew Massey, who drove in Taylor Douglas with an opposite field shot down the right field line.
“We had an opportunity to win in extra innings,” UT Martin head coach Rick Robinson said. “That’s one of the huge advantages of playing at home. I love playing at home for the simple reason that you can give them one run when you’re up by one and still have an opportunity to win. Andrew stepped up with the clutch hit, which was one of the most clutch hits of the season because that wrapped up the series win against Belmont.”
Andrew Castillo finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle today, tallying three hits with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Taylor Douglas doubled to lead off the 10th and scored the winning run to cap off a two-hit, two-run and RBI performance. Pribble also scored a run while Fletcher Johnson came away with a multi-hit effort to lead the Skyhawks, who outhit Belmont by a 10-6 margin.
Senior right-hander Alex Martin pitched two scoreless innings to receive the win, improving to 1-3 on the season. Quinton Stevens started the game and tossed a season-high five frames, allowing three runs on only four hits. Jackson Zarubin also saw time on the mound today, accounting for three innings with zero hits allowed for UT Martin.
Belmont (12-11, 5-2 OVC) struck first with a pair of runs in the top of the first before Stevens held the Bruins off the scoreboard in the second. Belmont was able to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the third before the Skyhawks evened the score in the bottom half of the inning.
Pribble reached on an error with one out and Castillo followed with an RBI triple. Douglas then singled to make the score 3-2 and Zych would tie the game with an RBI single after Douglas stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Stevens then took over, retiring the side in order in the fourth and holding the Bruins scoreless in his fifth and final frame.
UT Martin took its first lead of the contest in the bottom of the fifth, as Castillo connected on a one-out round tripper beyond the fence in left field to give the Skyhawks a one-run lead. It was the third homer of the season for Castillo and second in the last five days for the junior out of Kennewick, Wash.
Zarubin followed with a shutout sixth before sitting the Bruins down in order in both the seventh and eighth innings to keep the Skyhawk lead at 4-3.
Belmont tied the game in the top of the ninth but UT Martin escaped any further damage with a strikeout and caught stealing double play to end the Bruin threat.
Martin pitched through a scoreless 10th inning, thanks in large part to Castillo throwing out a baserunner trying to nab the extra base at third for the second out of the inning.
Douglas and Massey then doubled in the bottom half of the frame to give the Skyhawks the victory.
UT Martin will go for the sweep on Sunday, March 29 when they host Belmont for the series finale. The Skyhawks are expected to throw senior left-hander Carter Smith (1-3, 2.03 ERA) while Belmont’s probable starting pitcher is yet to be announced.