Tech wins in 15 innings over The Citadel; Kirby-Jones homers and Henry slams door

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Sophomore A.J. Kirby Jones provided the winning margin with a solo home run in the top of the 15th inning as Tennessee Tech outlasted The Citadel Saturday afternoon for a 7-6 victory.

The Golden Eagles (5-2), who earned their second consecutive one-run victory in the Memorial Tournament being hosted by The Citadel, tied the game with a run in the top of the ninth to force extra innings.

Junior Lee Henry (1-0) earned his first win for Tech by pitching the final 6.2 scoreless innings. He allowed just four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out three in relief after coming into the contest with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Golden Eagle starter Jared Dobbs worked the first three innings, allowing four runs on five hits as the Bulldogs took a 3-1 lead. Tech had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on singles by Ben Burgess and Evan Webb, and a sacrifice bunt by Cory Wright.

The Citadel got that run back in the bottom of the second with a double by Richard Jones and an RBI single from Chris McGuiness, who went 4-for-5 in the contest.

In the bottom of the third, The Citadel scored a pair. The Bulldogs had a single and a walk, followed by a two-run single by Sonny Meade for the 3-1 lead.

The Golden Eagles came back to tie the game for the first time with two runs in the fourth. Webb led off with a double and Heath Cheverton singled. Tate McMillan’s ground out drove home the first run, and a single by Chad Hayes plated the second run.

Once again, The Citadel moved back ahead with a run in the fourth. McGuiness led off with a single, bringing Michael Alcorn in to pitch for Tech for his first appearance of the season. After a single and sacrifice bunt, David Greene delivered an RBI single for a 4-3 lead.

That’s the way things stood for two innings, before Tech took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh. Kirby-Jones walked and Burgess singled. Cheverton was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Wright drove a two-run single through the right side.

With nobody out in the eighth, Kirby-Jones took over pitching duties after The Citadel had scored one run against Alcorn on a double by Jones. McGuiness was intentionally walked, then Fallaw drew an RBI walk. The Golden Eagle defense gunned down a runner at home on the next at bat, and got out of the ining with a double play that went pitcher-to-home –to-first.

Down 6-5, the Golden Eagles opened the ninth with singles by Webb and Cheverton. With two outs and a runner at third, McMillan’s single to center kept Tech alive by scoring pinch runner Casanova Donaldson to make it 6-6.

A walk, a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third for The Citadel, and Meade walked to load the bases. In came Henry, who coaxed a double play groundout from the red-hot Jones to force extra frames.

Henry retired 10 consecutive batters before McGuiness doubled to open the 13th inning. He faced two base runners in the 14th inning on a pair of singles, but got a strikeout to end that threat.

While Henry was mowing down Bulldog batters, The Citadel also got sterling pitching from Drew Mahffey (0-2), the sixth pitcher to take the mound for the home team. He pitched six innings and allowed just one run on three hits, walked two a struck out eight.

Tech had two runners aboard in the 13th inning. In the 15th, Kirby-Jones homered with one out.

Once again McGuiniess led off the 15th with a single, and was in scoring position at second base with one out after a sacrifice bunt, but Henry got two groundouts to end it.

Alcorn worked four innings for Tech, allowing five hits, two runs and two walks, with three strikeouts. Kirby-Jones pitched 1.1 innings, allowing just one hit while walking four.

Leadoff hitter Alex Henry and freshman Ben Burgess each went 2-for-8 in the game, each setting a school record for most at bats (8) in a game. Webb finished 3-for-5, while Cheverton was 4-for-5.

The Golden Eagles were slated to play Radford later Saturday, then close play at the tournament with another game against The Citadel Sunday.