By TYLER BROWN
Eastern’s baseball team scored 11 runs in its first two innings and never looked back, routing Northern Kentucky University 15-4, March 31 at Turkey Hughes Field. The Colonels then went on to win its three-game series against OVC opponent University of Tennessee at Martin, April 2 and 4. The Colonels took the first two games 10-6 and 9-2, while the Skyhawks (9-20, 5-10 OVC) took the final game 7-3.
A six run first inning helped build a comfortable cushion for the Colonels against Northern (9-18), which only conceded four runs across nine innings to the visiting.
Junior Mandy Alvarez got the scoring started in the first inning with a single that brought home sophomore Shea Sullivan. A double by sophomore Ben Fisher helped bring home Alvarez and junior Kyle Nowlin. Another by junior Luke Wurzelbacher allowed Fisher to score. Wurzelbacher scored the next batter up after a fly ball by freshman Brendan Cutting and junior Doug Teegarden rounded out the first inning scoring on a single by Sullivan.
Northern got on the scoreboard with two runs in the third and fourth innings. Junior Logan Spurlin’s double to center field in the third brought home junior Cody Kuzniczci and sophomore Kyle Colletta. In the fourth, a single by senior Cole Bauml allowed Colletta to score, and senior Caleb Lonkard scored later in the inning, as well. This cut the deficit to 11-4, but Northern didn’t get any closer.
The Colonels scored four more in the eighth inning with runs by Teegarden, freshman Daniel McFarland, junior Kenny Hostrander and sophomore Taylor Blair, putting the Colonels up by the winning margin.
Eastern 10 v. UT Martin 6
The first game of the series against UT Martin was suspended due to rain. The first six innings were played April 2, the seventh inning April 3 and finally concluded April 4.
The sixth inning saw Alvarez hit a grand slam to put the Colonels up six. Two more scores by Fisher and Blair moved Eastern up 10-2 by the end of the inning. The Skyhawks scored a pair of runs in the seventh, cutting the deficit to six.
UT Martin scored again in the eighth along, bringing the score to 10-6, but the Skyhawks moved no closer.
Eastern 9 v. UT Martin 2
Strong pitching and a high scoring eighth inning propelled Eastern to a 9-2 victory over UT Martin in game two.
Sophomore Alex Hamilton led the Colonels on the mound, allowing only two runs on three hits through eight innings. He also struck out eighth UT Martin players and walked two.
The Skyhawks tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth on a single but the Colonels took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning on a double by Alvarez which brought home Sullivan, putting them up 3-2.
In the eighth, the Colonels scored six runs, started by sophomore Logan Starnes’ single to right center-which scored Fisher. Hostrander’s double brought Blair and Starnes home. Another double by Sullivan allowed Hostrander to score. Sullivan scored along with junior TJ Alas off an Alvarez double the next at-bat, putting the score at 9-2.
EKU 3 v. UTM 7
The final game of the series saw Eastern lose to the Skyhawks 7-3, ending the series at 2-1 in favor of the Colonels.
UT Martin took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning when a single my Mike Murphy brought home Andrew Massey, and Matt Hirsch scored from third off a balk. Two more scores by Nick Pribble and Andrew Castillo in the fifth put the visiting Skyhawks up by four.
Nowlin brought the Colonels within two in the fifth inning with his ninth home run of the season, hitting a two-run homer that scored him and Alas, cutting the score to 5-3. UT Martin responded in the seventh with a two-run home run, putting the game away for the Skyhawks.
Eastern (10-17, 4-7 OVC) hits the road April 10 through 12 for a series against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.