The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team allowed only five hits today but SIU Edwardsville managed a 6-2 win in the series finale at the Simmons Baseball Complex.
Senior left-handed Carter Smith (2-8) nearly went the distance, going 7.2 innings while allowing three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts against only one walk. Patrick Bernard came on in relief and needed two pitches to record the final out.
Offensively, Nick Gavello had his second consecutive strong game – as his two-run double in the top of the sixth broke a scoreless tie and gave UT Martin a brief lead. Taylor Douglas and Nico Zych each had two hits while Zych and Nick Pribble each scored a run for the Skyhawks (12-29, 5-16 Ohio Valley Conference).
Smith came out focused, sitting down the first eight batters he faced while carrying a no-hitter through the fifth inning. He tallied six groundouts, six flyouts and three strikeouts while only allowing one baserunner (a two-out hit by pitch in the third inning) in the first five frames.
Smith’s dominant performance allowed UT Martin to take a lead in the top of the sixth. Pribble drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the inning and Zych followed with a two-out walk to bring up Gavello, who jumped on the first pitch he saw for a double into the gap in right center. Both Pribble and Zych scampered home to provide Smith and the Skyhawks a 2-0 advantage.
A leadoff double by SIU Edwardsville (15-21, 15-9 OVC) in the sixth inning broke up Smith’s no-hitter and led to a three-run inning for the Cougars. SIU Edwardsville pieced together two hits in the inning as the go-ahead run was unearned.
Smith held the Cougars scoreless in the seventh and it appeared that UT Martin was in a good position to tie or go ahead in the top of the eighth. The first three batters (Andrew Castillo, Douglas, Zych) all reached via singles to load the bases with no outs but SIU Edwardsville turned a double play and induced another groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Smith got two quick outs in the eighth but three more runs – two of which were unearned – crossed the plate before Bernard got out of the inning.
Fletcher Johnson was able to hit a two-out double in the top of the ninth but unfortunately, that would be the only baserunner the Skyhawks could produce.
UT Martin’s next game will take place on Tuesday, April 28 in a nonconference battle between Murray State at 6 p.m. The game will take place at Elam Stadium in Union City, Tenn. and admission is $5 for the general public.