MARTIN. Tenn. – SIUE baseball scored four times in the ninth inning Friday, but it wasn't enough. UT Martin won the opener of a three-game Ohio Valley Conference baseball series 9-5.
The two teams will finish the series with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. The schedule was changed to avoid rain predicted for Sunday.
SIUE dropped to 9-27 overall and 3-16 in OVC play. UT Martin, which snapped a 17-game losing streak, improved to 6-29 and 3-13.
"I am really disappointed with the way we came out," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "Our approach at the plate was not very disciplined."
The Cougars four runs came with one swing of the bat by Brock Hammit. Hammit worked had worked a nine-pitch at-bat against UTM reliever Knnor Aherin before taking a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for a grand slam.
The Skyhawks got out a lead with a three-run second inning. The added three more in the fourth to lead 6-0.
SIUE starter Ryan Byrd (0-7) worked into the fourth and allowed six runs on four hits and five walks.
"That was the difference; so many walks in three innings," SIUE Head Coach Sean Lyons said. "That was not the start that we were looking for. With not scoring those runs early in the game, that combination was not a good one."
UTM extended its lead to 9-1 with a three-run fifth inning against reliever Brock Fulkerson. They were the only runs allowed by the right-hander over five innings out of the bullpen. He allowed eight hits and struck out four. He retired the final eight batters he faced.
"We got him to the point where there was going to be no return tomorrow," Lyons added. "He felt strong and he showed that in last three innings. He was a different pitcher in those last three innings."
The Cougars finished with eight hits, and left 13 runners on base. Steven Pattan led SIUE with three hits. He was 3 for 5. Aside from Hammit, Eric Giltz recorded SIUE's only other RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning.
"We expanded the strike zone way too much," Lyons said. "We had numerous opportunities with runners in scoring position early and came away with only one run."
UT Martin third baseman Billy Edwards was 2 for 3 with four RBIs.
Skyhawks starter Dom Bazzani (2-3) earned the win. He allowed a run on three hits in five innings. He walked six and he struck out 10.