TSU Football works to improve academic standing following NCAA Notice of Postseason Ban

TSU Football works to improve academic standing following NCAA Notice of Postseason Ban

Posted on 27 May 2015 by Allen


Tennessee State University has implemented new programs to improve academic performance of its football-student athletes. This comes following notification from the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance that the program will be banned from postseason competition for the 2015 season. The notice states that the TSU football program failed to meet the academic standards required by the NCAA Academic Progress Rate. This year marks the first time that a TSU athletic program has ever been issued a post-season ban or Level I penalty since the NCAA started collecting APR data 11 years ago.

“While 14 of our athletic programs have scored at or above the NCAA’s APR benchmark, unfortunately, the football team fell short,” said Teresa Phillips, director of Athletics. “We take the academic progress of our student athletes very seriously and have implemented new processes and procedures for our coaches and students to address this issue and improve the overall administration of the football program. I am confident that these new measures will rectify the problem going forward.”

The sanctions against TSU are a result of the multiyear APR calculations—a four-year measurement covering the academic years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. The football team’s multiyear APR score was 915, falling short of the 920 benchmark set forth by the NCAA for limited resource institutions.

As a result, the football program will be subject to a Level I penalty. This penalty reduces the number of hours allowed for regular season athletic related activities – an amount that must be replaced with activities related to academics. Last fall, the TSU athletics department made serious and substantive modifications to the football program to address the APR score decline. Some of the measures include:

• Developing and submitting an improvement plan outlining future expectations;
• Increasing academic support for student-athletes, including the proposed addition of an advisor specifically assigned to football;
• Improving accommodations, support and access to student-athlete tutoring services;
• Relocating to an upgraded facility that includes a larger computer lab, tutoring room and quiet study area;
• Developing a new policy that requires increased study-hall hours for students with GPAs that are below standards;
• Implementing a zero-tolerance policy for class and study hall absences; and
• Requiring head football coach and key assistants to attend the yearly NCAA Rules Seminar

TSU President Glenda Glover issued the following statement regarding the NCAA’s announcement citing the university.
“Educating and graduating our student athletes is a top priority for all our programs, including football,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover. “It is clear we should have done a better job monitoring the academic progress of our football student-athletes. However, recent changes within our (football) program have already had a significant impact in achieving the success we expect in the classroom. We will strive to maintain that standard as we move forward. Winning on the field is important, but the most important thing to all of us is for our student-athletes to obtain their degrees.”

All intercollegiate sports programs at NCAA member institutions receive an APR score during the academic year. Scores are compiled based on points given for eligibility and retention for student-athletes that receive athletic scholarships and financial aid each semester. Teams lose points when a scholarship player is not academically eligible to play at the end of a semester or transfers without a minimum 2.6 GPA.

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Morehead State Wins 2015 OVC Baseball Tournament Championship

Morehead State Wins 2015 OVC Baseball Tournament Championship

Posted on 25 May 2015 by Allen


No. 2 seed Morehead State completed a perfect run through the Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship with a 16-3 victory over No. 1 seed Southeast Missouri on Saturday at The Ballpark at Jackson to claim its third overall OVC Tournament Championship and first since 1993.

With the victory Morehead State (37-22) earns the OVC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will be making just its third-ever appearance in the field; the team also qualified for the NCAA Championship in 1977 and 1983. The 64-team 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship field will be announced at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, May 25 on ESPNU.

The nation’s top hitting team played like it on Saturday, banging out 17 hits and scoring 16 runs in the title game victory. The Eagles had entered the postseason ranking first nationally in batting average, scoring, total runs, hits, doubles and slugging.

Overall Morehead State has recorded the most overall (38) and Conference (20) victories in program history in 2015.

Morehead State struck early and often on Saturday plating five runs in the first inning and three additional runs in the second frame to go ahead 8-0. Southeast Missouri would plate a pair of runs in the top of the fifth only to see the Eagles add one in the bottom of the frame and four in the sixth inning on a Kane Sweeney grand slam to put the game out of reach.

Sweeney and Brandon Rawe each finished the day with three hits, three runs scored and four RBI for MSU.

Brent Stoneking (5-1) was the winning pitcher in relief. He allowed just one hit over the final 4.1 innings.

The 14-run margin of victory was the largest in an OVC Champion Game since the 1994 season when Murray State topped Eastern Kentucky by 15 runs (19-4).

2015 OVC All-Tournament Team
Dylan Bosheers, Tennessee Tech
Paschal Petrongolo, Jacksonville State
Drew Ferguson, Belmont
Matthew Kinney, Belmont
Matt Beaty, Belmont
Branden Boggetto, Southeast Missouri
Travis Hayes, Southeast Missouri
Dalton Hewitt, Southeast Missouri
Alex Stephens, Morehead State
Craig Pearcy, Morehead State
Chris Robinson, Morehead State
Kane Sweeney, Morehead State
Clayton Meyer, Morehead State

MVP: Alex Stephens, Morehead State

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Jones named OVC Female Athlete of the Year

Jones named OVC Female Athlete of the Year

Posted on 22 May 2015 by Allen


UT Martin sophomore forward Ashia Jones has been selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2014-15 in voting by the league’s athletics directors and sports information directors.

Jones will receive her award at the League’s annual Honors Brunch on May 29 in Nashville. The Male Athlete of the Year (Murray State point guard Cameron Payne) was announced on Thursday.

Jones became the second player in UT Martin women’s basketball history to earn All-American honors this season while also being named OVC Player of the Year and helping the Skyhawks to a perfect 16-0 Conference record (just the sixth in league history) and OVC regular season championship and tournament championship runner-up finish. Jones also took home the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Award for top women’s basketball player in the state of Tennessee.

This season she averaged 23.4 points per game, which led the OVC and ranked fourth nationally. Jones became the third-fastest player in program history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau, accomplishing the feat in 57 games (two games faster than Pat Head Summitt). She also set new single-season UT Martin records in points (772), field goals made (287) and 30-plus point games (10). Jones had several notable individual performances, tying the program’s single-game record with 44 points at Murray State on January 31 and nearly compiling a triple-double with 35 points, nine rebounds and a Skyhawk single-game record 11 steals at Miami (Ohio) on December 15.

Jones also helped guide the Skyhawks to its fifth consecutive postseason appearance, as UT Martin played at Ole Miss in the WNIT.

This marks the second-straight season the OVC Female Athlete of the Year winner has been a UT Martin women’s basketball player (Heather Butler won the award in 2013-14). Overall Jones is the third different UTM athlete to earn the honor.

Other nominees for the award included Austin Peay junior track athlete Breigh Jones, Belmont junior distance runner Hannah Wittman, Eastern Illinois senior forward Sabina Oroszova, Eastern Kentucky senior tennis player Amandine Faouzi, Jacksonville State senior catcher Sara Borders, Morehead State sophomore golfer Anna Magnusson, Murray State sophomore volleyball outside hitter Scottie Ingram, Southeast Missouri freshman soccer goalkeeper Kindra Lierz, SIUE soccer/softball player Samantha Jones, Tennessee State senior guard Chelsea Hudson and Tennessee Tech junior volleyball outside hitter Cody Dodd.
The OVC first awarded a Female Athlete of the Year in 1981.

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Colonels land another big man

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Colonels land another big man

Posted on 21 May 2015 by Allen


With the addition of 6-foot-6 forward Anthony Pratt to the Eastern Kentucky University basketball team, head coach Dan McHale’s five-member recruiting class now includes four players that are 6-foot-5 or taller. McHale announced the addition of Pratt today.

“We are thrilled that Anthony has decided to join our EKU family,” McHale said. “He was being recruited at a high level and we were fortunate he saw an opportunity to get a great education at Eastern Kentucky and play in a fun style of play.”

A native of the Bahamas, Pratt played high school basketball at St. Louis Christian Academy. He was limited his senior season due to an injury, but still averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per game.

Pratt was named the MVP of the Phenom Hoops National Showcase in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November. Against Quality Education, which came in ranked No. 31 in the country by USA Today, Pratt scored a game-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field and grabbed five rebounds in a 65-59 victory. In the Cougars’ first game of the Shootout, Pratt finished with 10 points and nine rebounds against Faith Assembly.

“The ‘Bohemian Bruiser’ will provide toughness and energy to our front court,” said McHale. “I am really excited about his ceiling, he doesn’t know how good he is going be. We are fortunate that he played for Coach Maxey, who does a great job in the summer with young men like Anthony.”

As a junior at St. Louis Christian Academy, Pratt averaged 12 points and six rebounds.

In addition to Pratt, Nick Mayo (6-foot-8, 225, forward), Greg King (6-foot-7, 225, forward), Jarelle Reischel (6-foot-5, 210, guard) and Cameron Williams (5-foot-11, 170, guard) will join the Colonel program in the fall of 2015 as well.

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Zych Earns TSWA Honors

Zych Earns TSWA Honors

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Allen


Nico Zych of the University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team has been named the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week for games played May 11-17.

A 6-0, 180-pound senior first baseman, Zych wrapped up a productive four-year career with a hot week at the dish, hitting .500 (8-for-16) with an on-base percentage of .529 and a slugging percentage of .938 in three games.

Zych began his week with a hit in UT Martin’s narrow 16-inning loss at Memphis on Tuesday. The Monee, Ill. native followed that with seven hits in nine at-bats against Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State. He went 2-for-3 in the opening game before exploding for the best game of his career in the finale on Saturday.

In what would turn out to be the final game of his collegiate career, Zych tallied a career-high five hits in six at-bats with a pair of homers, finishing just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He added four RBI’s and two runs scored against the Gamecocks, guiding UT Martin to a near-comeback before the team fell 13-12.

Zych concluded the season with a .301 batting clip, 31 runs scored, 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 33 RBI’s. He also posted an impressive .985 fielding percentage (367 putouts, six errors in 396 chances) at first base, a position he had not played at the collegiate level until this year.

Zych ends his Skyhawk career ranking in the top-five in UT Martin history in at-bats (675, third), games played (189, fifth), hits (182, fifth) and assists (302, fifth).

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EKU lands JUCO standout King

EKU lands JUCO standout King

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Allen


Greg King, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward, has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play college basketball at Eastern Kentucky University next season, Head Coach Dan McHale announced today.

King played one season at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida. He has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

“We’re excited to welcome Greg to the EKU family,” McHale said. “He is an outstanding young man, on and off the court, and his skill set fits our system perfectly.”

In 2014-15, King averaged 6.4 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the field for the Indians. He also contributed nearly one block and one steal per game.

King scored 10 or more points seven times, including a season-best 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field at Gulf Coast State College on Jan. 7. He also had 10 or more rebounds in a game three times, posting double-doubles against Lawson State (Nov. 20) and Northwest Florida (Jan. 31).

“The combination of his athleticism, strength and size will give us a much needed physical presence down low,” said McHale.

The Ellenwood, Georgia native played with current Colonel Paul Jackson at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Lithonia. Both graduated in 2014.

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Field Set for 2015 OVC Baseball Championship


Field Set for 2015 OVC Baseball Championship

Posted on 17 May 2015 by Allen


The 2015 Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Championship field is now set. The event will be held May 20-24 at The Ballpark at Jackson (formerly Pringles Park) in Jackson, Tennessee. This year marks the sixth year in a row the event will be held at the venue, which is home of the Jackson Generals, the AA-affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

Southeast Missouri (33-21, 22-8 OVC) captured its second-straight and third overall OVC Championship under third-year head coach Steve Bieser. They are the first OVC team to win back-to-back outright regular season championship since Austin Peay accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004. The Redhawks are appearing in its 21st-straight OVC Tournament this year, which is an all-time OVC record for consecutive appearances (the second place mark is 13-straight years). As the No. 1 seed Southeast Missouri will open play on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. after receiving a first round bye.

Morehead State (35-20, 20-10 OVC) set program records for overall and Conference wins in a season under third-year head coach Mike McGuire. The Eagles earned the No. 2 seed, the highest seed for the program since the 1994 season. Entering the posteason the team has won 24 of its last 31 contests. This marks the second-straight year Morehead State has been in the OVC Tournament and only the fifth appearance for the team over the past 13 years; it marks the first time the team has qualified in back-to-back years since 1995 and 1996. As the No. 2 seed the Eagles receive a first round bye and will open tournament play on Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

SIUE (20-28, 19-11 OVC) qualified for its second-straight OVC Tournament in its third overall year of eligibility. As the No. 3 seed the Cougars will play No. 6 seed Belmont on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. to open tournament play. SIUE is searching for its first-ever OVC Tournament victory as the team lost a pair of games last year in its tournament debut.

Needing a win on the final day of the regular season to qualify for the OVC Championship, Tennessee Tech (25-27, 16-14 OVC) dispatched of Eastern Kentucky 10-2 to claim the No. 4 seed. The Golden Eagles will open play on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. against No. 5 seed Jacksonville State; those two teams played in the Championship Round of last year’s tournament. Overall it is the third-straight season and seventh time in last eight years Tech has qualified for the event (TTU won the tournament crown last in 2009).

Jacksonville State (29-25, 15-14 OVC) qualified for its 12th-straight OVC Tournament by winning two games at UT Martin this past weekend before its series finale was rained out. JSU won eight of its final 11 Conference games to end the 2015 regular season. A year ago the Gamecocks lost on the first day of the Championship only to win six-consecutive elimination games and claim its fourth OVC Tournament crown. JSU became the first team in the current tournament format (since 2005) to lose on the first day and come back to win the title. Jax State will be the No. 5 seed and play No. 4 seed Tennessee Tech in the tournament opener on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.

Belmont (27-27, 15-14 OVC) qualified for the OVC Tournament for the second time in three years as a member of the OVC. The Bruins will be the No. 6 seed and take on No. 3 seed SIUE on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Belmont has a pair of victories over defending national champion Vanderbilt this season.

Fans can watch the entire 2015 OVC Baseball Tournament live on the OVC Digital Network. There is no charge to watch the event and the games are available on any computer, tablet or smart phone.

Tickets for the event will be $10 per day or $28 for an all-session pass (up to 11 total games). There is also an $8 a day rate (or $25 for an all-tournament pass) for students/faculty of OVC-member schools (with valid ID) or for groups. All seats at the 6,000-seat park are general admission for the OVC Championship.

Fans can purchase tickets in person at the Jackson Generals box office or by calling (731) 988-5299 or going online here: https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?sponsorid=7721#.VVJZ2o5Vikr


Wednesday, May 20
Game 1 – #4 Tennessee Tech vs. #5 Jacksonville State, 3:00 p.m.
Game 2 – #3 SIUE vs. #6 Belmont, 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 21
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 11:00 a.m.
Game 4 – #2 Morehead State vs. Best Seed of Games 1/2 Winners, 3:00 p.m.
Game 5 – #1 Southeast Missouri vs. Worst Seed of Games 1/2 Winners, 7:00 p.m.

Friday, May 22
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Worst Seed of Games 4/5 Losers, 11:00 a.m.
Game 7 – Winner Game 6 vs. Best Seed of Games 4/5 Losers, 3:00 p.m.
Game 8 – Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 23
Game 9 – Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 12:00 p.m.
Game 10 – Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 24 (if necessary)
Game 11 – Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 10, 12:00 p.m.

All Times Central

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Angelucci joins EKU Basketball Staff

Angelucci joins EKU Basketball Staff

Posted on 14 May 2015 by Allen


Trent Angelucci, the video coordinator at Georgia Tech the last four years, has been hired as Eastern Kentucky University’s Director of Basketball Operations, head coach Dan McHale announced today.

Before joining the staff at Georgia Tech, Angelucci was an assistant coach at Transylvania University for two seasons (2009-11).

“Trent is a tremendous addition to my inaugural staff at EKU,” McHale said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our staff that will compliment us very well. Working most recently in the ACC for a great coach like Brian Gregory will be beneficial in all aspects of our program.”

Angelucci’s duties as the video coordinator at Tech from 2011 to 2015 included preparing and analyzing all film edits for scouting and player development, breaking down every opponent’s offense for each scout, researching and completing statistical analysis reports, and developing and updating detailed recruiting schedules for each recruiting season.

The Lexington, Kentucky native is the son of Dr. Steve Angelucci, the president of Lexington Catholic High School. Steve served as the assistant athletics director for external relations at Eastern Kentucky during the early to mid 1990’s.

“Being a Lexington native and his family ties to EKU makes Trent’s homecoming even more special,” McHale said. “I’m thrilled to welcome him aboard and excited as he is a rising star in our business.”

As an assistant at Transylvania, Angelucci had on-court coaching, scouting and recruiting responsibilities.

Angelucci joins assistant coaches Michael Bradley, Reece Gaines and Doug Davenport on McHale’s first EKU staff. Eastern is the only program in the nation with two former first round NBA draft picks on its staff. Bradley was the No. 17 pick by Toronto in the 2001 NBA Draft and Gaines was the No. 15 pick in the 2003 draft by Orlando.

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Eastern Kentucky announces 2015 Volleyball Schedule

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Eastern Kentucky announces 2015 Volleyball Schedule

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Allen


Eastern Kentucky University’s 2015 volleyball schedule features eight meetings against teams that won 18 or more matches in 2014. The Colonels will open the season at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Tournament on August 28, head coach Lori Duncan announced today.

Following three matches in two days at the University of Tennessee Tournament in Knoxville, the Colonels will play the first of nine home matches on Sept. 8 against Northern Kentucky at 6:30 p.m.

Eastern will then travel north for the University of Notre Dame Tournament which includes a match against Penn State. The Nittany Lions went 36-3 last season and won the championship in the NCAA Tournament.

Eastern Kentucky will play in the University of Northern Colorado Tournament in Greenley and at Colorado State in Fort Collins before opening Ohio Valley Conference play on Sept. 25 at home against Belmont. EKU’s first home conference match comes on Oct. 10 against Southeast Missouri.

The Colonels will face 2014 OVC regular season and tournament champion Murray State once. The only meeting between the two will take place on Oct. 3 at home.

After facing the Morehead State Eagles on Nov. 10 at Morehead, EKU will close out the regular season at home against Austin Peay on Nov. 14. The 2015 OVC Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 19-23 at the home of the regular season champion.

Eastern Kentucky posted a 21-14 record in 2014 and went 11-5 in conference play. Three starters return from last season’s team.

Aug. 28-39 (Fri-Sat) UT at Chattanooga Tournament Chattanooga, TN.
Aug. 28 (Fri) vs. Troy University 3 p.m.
Aug. 29 (Fri) vs. Valpariso University 10:00 a.m.
Aug. 30 (Sat) vs. UT – Chattonooga 7 p.m.
Sept. 3 Tue at Marshall University Huntington, WV. 6 p.m.
Sept. 4-5 (Fri-Sat) Universoty of Tennessee Tournament Knoxville, TN
Sept. 4 (Fri) vs. University of North Carolina, Greensboro .10 a.m.
Sept. 4 (Sat) vs. University of North Florida 4 p.m.
Sept. 5 (Sat) vs. University of Tennessee 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 Tue
Richmond, KY. 7 p.m.
Sept. 11-12 (Fri-Sat) University of Notre Dame Tournament South Bend, IN.
Sept. 1 (Fri) vs. Penn State University 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 (Sat) vs. University of Notre Dame 12:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 (Sat) vs. Mississippi State University 4:30 a.m.
Sept. 18-19 (Fri-Sat)
University of North Colorado Tournament
Greeley, CO.
Sept. 18 (Fri) vs. Indiana University 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 (Sat) vs. University of North Colorado 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 (Sat) vs. Utah State University 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 (Sun) at Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO. 2:00 p.m.
Sept. 25 (Fri) BELMONT UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY. 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 (Wed) TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY. 2 p.m.
Sept. 30 (Sat) MOREHEAD STATE UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY. 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 (Sat) MURRARY STATE UNIVERSITY* Richmond, Ky. 2 p.m.
Oct. 9 (Fri) at South East Missouri State University* Cape Giradeau, MO. 8 p.m.
Oct. 10 (Sat) at University of Tennessee at Martin* Martin,TN. 3 p.m.
Oct. 16 (Fri) at Jacksonville State University* Jacksonville, AL. 8 p.m.
Oct. 17 (Sat) at Tennessee Tech University* Cookeville, TN. 3 p.m.
Oct. 23 (Fri) TENNESSEE TECH UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY. 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 (Sat) JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 (Tue) at University of Dayton Dayton, OH. 6 p.m.
Oct. 30 (Fri) at Tennessee State University* Nashville, TN. 8 p.m.
Oct. 31 (Sat) at Belmont University* Nashville, TN. 3 p.m.
Nov. 6 (Fri) EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY* Richmond, KY. 7 p.m.
Nov. 10 (Tue) Morehead State University* Morehead, KY. 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 (Sat) Austin Peay* Clarksville, TN. 3 p.m.
Nov. 19-23 (Thur-Mon) at OVC Tournament TBD TBD
Dec. 4-6 (Thur-Sat) NCAA 1st & 2nd Rounds TBD TBD
Dec. 11-14 (Thur-Sun) NCAA Regionals TBD TBD
Dec. 18-20 (Thur & Sat NCAA Final Four Oklahoma City, Okla. TBD

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James Harrison signs with UT Martin

James Harrison signs with UT Martin

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Allen


University of Tennessee at Martin head men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer has announced the signing of James Harrison, a 6-5, 210-pound guard out of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. Harrison will have two years of eligibility remaining for the Skyhawks.

“We’re really excited to add James,” Schroyer said. “He’s a high-level player that does all the things on the perimeter that we value. I love his ability to stretch defenses and he has great size – he can defend multiple positions on the floor. He’s a great kid and a great student – he really fits the bill in every way of the type of young man we are building this program with.”

A Houston native, Harrison helped lead McLennan to a 23-8 record last season and a Region V tournament appearance under head coach Kevin Gill. Harrison was a second team All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honoree after averaging 11.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in just 21.7 minutes per game. He was second on the team in scoring in conference play, pouring in 13.7 points per game.

On the season, Harrison shot 46.6 percent (122-for-262) from the floor while ranking second on the Highlanders with 52 three-pointers. He also sank a team-best 90.4 percent (47-of-52) of his attempts from the free throw line.

Harrison tallied a season-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting in 24 minutes against Temple College on Feb. 4. He connected on at least three 3-pointers in 10 games, racking up at least 15 points on nine different occasions.

Harrison spent his freshman season at the University of New Orleans, a Division-I school who competes in the Southland Conference. Playing for head coach Mark Slessinger, Harrison played in 23 games and logged two starts, averaging 4.7 points in 12.0 minutes per game. He shot an even 50 percent from the floor (38-for-76), including a 44.4 percent clip (24-for-54) from three-point range.

Harrison concluded his freshman campaign by making at least one 3-pointer in the last 11 games of the season. He cracked double-figures in the scoring column in three different games, including a team-best 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting at Lamar on March 6, 2014.

At the prep level, Harrison was a standout at Westfield High School under head coach Van Price. He averaged 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as a senior, earning all-region, all-district and district co-MVP accolades with teammate Wesley Iwundu, who is currently playing at Kansas State. The Mustangs finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 31-7 overall record (including an unblemished 16-0 mark in District 13-5A) while advancing to the regional semifinals.

Harrison was tabbed as the No. 26 senior in the Houston area while RCSSports.com ranked him as the 70th best prospect in Texas. His successful senior campaign followed a junior season where he compiled 15 points and four rebounds per contest while also earning first team all-district honors for a WHS squad that finished 26-11 overall.

“When I came to visit UT Martin, I felt like I was brought in as a family member as soon as I stepped on campus,” Harrison said. “Coach Schroyer is a great man and a great coach and I will love playing for him for the final two years of my collegiate career. I’m looking forward to being a part of the family-based atmosphere with this team.”

Harrison is the second player to sign with the Skyhawks in the past week, joining sophomore guard Malik Pugh (Dyersburg, Tenn./UNC Wilmington). UT Martin returns nine players from last season’s team who finished with 21 wins – one shy of the school record – and notched the first three postseason victories in the school’s Division-I history.

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Memphis rallies to beat Skyhawks, 2-1

Memphis rallies to beat Skyhawks, 2-1

Posted on 13 May 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team was one strike away in the bottom of the ninth from claiming a victory over Memphis but the Tigers extended the game and eventually claimed a 2-1 extra-inning win at the WS “Babe” Howard Classic at USA Stadium.

The game, which was UT Martin’s longest in over a dozen years, lasted five hours and eight minutes before Memphis’ Damo DeMatteo – who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 13th inning – ended the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 16th inning.

All four Skyhawk pitchers who saw action on the mound pitched exceptionally well this evening, as they combined to allow just 10 hits while tuning up 10 strikeouts against a Memphis (34-17) squad that was nationally ranked as recently as two weeks ago. Dillon Symon earned the start and allowed only one hit while fanning three Tigers over three shutout innings. Freshman lefty Daniel Shaw followed with a career-long 4.2 shutout frames of relief, conceding four hits. Patrick Bernard then registered three strikeouts while allowing one run in 4.1 innings before Cole Schaenzer (1-3) was charged with the loss, allowing one run on two hits spanning 3.1 innings.

The UT Martin offense began with a bang, as Matt Hirsch crushed the second pitch of the game beyond the left field wall for his first career homer. Andrew Castillo had two hits while Fletcher Johnson drew three walks for the Skyhawks (17-33), who were playing their last road game of the season tonight.

Hirsch’s blast was more than enough support for Symon and Shaw, who mowed down batter after batter while pitching in familiar surroundings. Symon, who hails from less than 30 miles away in Germantown, retired the side in order in the first inning and did not allow a hit through the first 11 Memphis batters. The Tigers made a bid to tie the contest in the third inning but Castillo rifled in a strike from left field to cut down Darien Tubbs at the plate as he tried to score on a two-out single.

Shaw, who is from less than 20 miles away in Memphis, entered in the fourth and immediately tallied a pair of strikeouts before inducing a flyout to end the inning and strand a Memphis runner on third.

The first batter reached on Shaw in both the fifth and sixth innings but the freshman showed remarkable composure. He got a 4-6-3 double play to end the fifth after a leadoff walk and recorded the final two outs on only eight pitches to erase a leadoff single in the sixth.

Shaw then posted zeroes on the scoreboard in the seventh inning and got two outs on the first six pitches of the eighth before Bernard came in. Facing runners on first and second, Bernard needed only three pitches to get out of the inning and keep the Skyhawk lead at 1-0.

Memphis placed the leadoff batter on base and he would later steal second with no outs. Bernard then got a lineout, followed by a strikeout and had Tubbs at a 1-2 count before he singled to shortstop to score Brandon Montgomery and send the game into extra innings.

Johnson reached on an error to lead off the 10th inning and he would eventually move just 90 feet away from scoring with two away but the Tigers escaped the jam.

Bernard posted shutout frames in the 10th, 11th and 12th, pitching around runners in scoring position in all three innings.

The Skyhawks placed two runners on the basepaths in the 13th but once again couldn’t manufacture a run. Castillo led off with a walk before he was forced out on a Taylor Douglas fielder’s choice. Austin Taylor singled through the right side with two away to put men on first and second but Memphis got through the situation unscathed.

Schaenzer’s first inning of work was in the 13th, as he got two quick outs before extending the game.

UT Martin had its best chance to go ahead in the 14th. Nick Pribble singled to center to lead off the inning and moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Luis Paublini. Johnson then drew a walk and Hirsch reached on an error to load the bases with one out for Castillo, who lifted a fly ball into center. Tubbs completed the catch and fired in a throw that was on target in just enough time to retire Pribble trying to tag from third.

Schaenzer posted two more zeroes on the scoreboard in the 14th and 15th and the Skyhawks once again placed a pair of runners on base in the 16th. Pribble drew a one-out walk and Johnson was issued a two-out walk but Memphis once again got out of the jam.

Tubbs was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the 16th and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, DeMatteo’s single proved to be the game-winner.

UT Martin wraps up the 2015 season this week when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference rival Jacksonville State on May 14-16. First pitch times for the series are scheduled for 6 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, followed by a 3 p.m. start for Saturday – which will serve as Senior Day and Alumni Day.

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EKU drop series finale at Murray State, 13-10

EKU drop series finale at Murray State, 13-10

Posted on 11 May 2015 by Allen


After winning the first two games of the series, Eastern Kentucky University’s baseball team lost the series finale at Murray State University, 13-10, on Sunday.

A five-run second inning that included a pair of two-run doubles by Shea Sullivan and Mandy Alvarez gave Eastern a 5-2 lead. However, the Racers took control of the contest with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth. Matt McGowan had a two-run single and Brock Downey’s bases loaded triple made it 9-5.

Murray State led 13-6 after six innings. The Colonels scored four runs over the final two innings to close the gap. Kenny Hostrander capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the ninth. The junior shortstop finished 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.

Alvarez was 2-for-4 with a walk, a run and two RBIs. Kyle Nowlin had two hits in three at bats, walked twice, scored once and drove in a runner.

The Colonels will conclude the 2015 regular season with a three-game home series against Tennessee Tech. The series opener is slated for 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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Skyhaws split doubleheader with Eastern Illinois

Skyhaws split doubleheader with Eastern Illinois

Posted on 10 May 2015 by Allen


The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team dodged the weather to finish off a 4-2 win this afternoon over Eastern Illinois in the resumption of Saturday’s contest. The two teams then followed with a seven-inning contest in the finale, as Eastern Illinois avoided a Skyhawk sweep with a 2-0 win.

The Skyhawks (17-32, 9-18 Ohio Valley Conference) have now pieced together back-to-back OVC series wins for the first time since UT Martin won three straight conference weekends on April 22 through May 8, 2011.

The Skyhawks wrap up the season next week with a Tuesday, May 12 matchup against Memphis in Millington, Tenn. before hosting OVC rival Jacksonville State for Alumni Weekend and Senior Weekend on May 14-16.

Game 2
After Game 2 was halted with the Skyhawks leading 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Saturday starter Carter Smith reemerged this afternoon and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. He improved his record to 4-8 on the season after allowing two runs while scattering eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Alex Martin followed with two scoreless innings for his first career save, clinching the series victory.

Austin Taylor collected an RBI and Andrew Castillo scored a run in the top of the ninth to provide an insurance run for UT Martin. Castillo, Taylor Douglas, Andrew Massey and Isaac Carrel each finished with two hits while Castillo led the team with a pair of runs scored.

Smith won a nine-pitch battle in his first batter faced, concluding the fifth inning. He then got through a clean sixth before striking out the side in the seventh, putting the finishing touches on a solid effort.

Martin then took over and did not allow a ball out of the infield in the eighth, using only five pitches to retire the side in order.

The Skyhawks added their final run of the game in their next at-bat, as Taylor drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded to score Castillo, who had previously walked.

Eastern Illinois was able to scratch out a leadoff single in the ninth but Martin did not allow another runner, dialing up a pair of strikeouts to lock down the victory.

Game 3
Martin got the start and pitched well in the finale but the Skyhawk offense was blanked in a 2-0 loss to the Panthers.

Martin (3-6) fanned four batters over four innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Dillon Symon came on in relief and did not allow a hit over two shutout frames.

Castillo and Nico Zych each had two hits to account for four of UT Martin’s six hits in the game.

Eastern Illinois scored once in the first inning but Martin did a good job of limiting the damage, stranding a pair of Panthers on the basepaths.

Martin needed just seven pitches to get through the second, recording a double play and strikeout to keep the score at 1-0.

The Skyhawks put a runner on second and third with two outs in the third but couldn’t tie or go ahead. The Panthers then added another run in the bottom half of the inning to go on top by a 2-0 margin.

Once again, UT Martin placed men on second and third with two away in the fourth but the Skyhawks could not come up with the clutch hit.

Martin piled up two more strikeouts in the fourth before Symon took over. Symon retired the side in order in the fifth and made short work of Eastern Illinois in the sixth, notching a pair of strikeouts.

Luis Paublini and Nick Pribble each singled with one away in the top of the seventh, bringing the potential go-ahead runs to the plate. However, the next two Skyhawks hit into fielder’s choices as Eastern Illinois claimed the final game of the series.

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Pugh signs with Skyhawks

Pugh signs with Skyhawks

Posted on 06 May 2015 by Allen


Malik Pugh, who spent his freshman collegiate season at UNC Wilmington after a standout career at nearby Dyer County High School, has signed with the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball program.

Pugh will have to sit out the 2015-16 season because of NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of eligibility remaining at UT Martin.

“We are very excited about adding Malik to our program for three years,” Skyhawk head coach Heath Schroyer said. “He’s a young man that I recruited when I first got here. He’s a good, young point guard who can do all the things that we love – he can dribble, pass and shoot it.”

Standing at 6-1 and 165 pounds, Pugh saw action in 27 games last season at UNC Wilmington under head coach Kevin Keatts. The Seahawks posted an 18-14 overall record with a 13-7 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play on their way to an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

Pugh averaged 2.8 points and 1.1 assists while shooting 45 percent from the floor (31-for-69) in 9.3 minutes per contest. He cracked double-figures in scoring three times, including career-highs of 16 points (8-for-10 shooting), six assists and three steals in 21 minutes at VMI on Nov. 22. He also tallied 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting with six assists in 21 minutes against St. Andrews on Dec. 3 and scored 10 points in 19 minutes at Minnesota on Dec. 27.

“UT Martin is closer to home and it’s important that my family can come watch me play,” Pugh said. “Coach Schroyer is a great coach and I know he will put me in the best possible situation to succeed. He will help take my game to the next level as we compete for conference championships and make further history at UT Martin.”

Pugh averaged 20 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals during his senior campaign at Dyer County High School under head coach Derek McCord, concluding his career with 1,003 points. The Choctaws finished 23-7 and advanced to the Class AAA Sectionals during Pugh’s senior season.

Pugh set the DCHS single-game scoring record with 47 points in the season-opener of his senior season. He also had an impressive performance in the Penny Hardaway Hoopfest, pouring in a combined 64 points in two games – 33 points against traditional national power Chicago Simeon and 31 points against Harrisburg – on his way to Most Valuable Player honors at the event. He also scored 37 points in the Class AAA sectional playoff game against nationally-ranked Hamilton High School.

Pugh’s successful senior season came after he helped guide the Choctaws to the state championship game as a junior in 2012-13. He earned TSSAA All-Tournament honors after scoring a team-best 13 points in the state finals against Southwind as DCHS wrapped up its season with a 31-4 record.

Pugh becomes the first player in this year’s signing class at UT Martin. The Skyhawks return nine players from last season’s record-setting team who went 21-13 while advancing to the Final Four of the CIT.

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