SEMO takes OVC-opening doubleheader from Tech

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team came into Saturday’s conference-opening doubleheader against Southeast Missouri looking for revenge against a Redhawk team that eliminated the Golden Eagles from last year’s conference tournament.

But, Tech didn’t find it, as SEMO took both games Saturday, winning 14-2 and 4-3 in Bush Stadium, with the final game of the series to be played Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Golden Eagles (10-7) opened the day strong, taking a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning, while starting pitcher A.J. Kirby-Jones didn’t give up a hit. But in the fourth frame the SEMO (12-8) bats woke up in a big way, as the Redhawks scored two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth, four in the sixth, two in the eight, and five in the ninth, all unanswered, to capture the 14-2 victory.

Louie Hastletine led the way for SEMO in that game, coming in to pinch hit in the sixth inning. Hastletine hit a grand slam in his first at-bat, but wasn’t finished, , as he hit an RBI double and a two run homer later in the game, finishing 3-for-3 from the plate with seven RBIs.

Kirby-Jones pitched five innings, allowing three runs, and striking out four batters in the loss. Kyle Gumieny earned the win for SEMO, pitching 5 and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs.

In the second half of the double header the Golden Eagles found themselves in a close game, tied 3-3 heading into the sixth of a seven inning game. The Redhawks took a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning, and although Tech threatened in the bottom of the sixth and seventh, couldn’t get a run home, falling 4-3.

Chad Oberacker led Tech on the day, going 4-for-9 from the plate with an RBI. Trice Powers, Kirby-Jones and Alex Henry each had three hits. Oberacker and Henry each extended their hit streaks to five games.

Tech was picked by the OVC coaches to finish in fifth place in the Ohio Valley Conference, one place behind SEMO, which was picked fourth. Pitchers for Sunday’s game have not been announced.

The Golden Eagles continue OVC play next weekend against defending OVC champion Eastern Illinois in Charleston after a pair of non-conference mid-week games at Belmont on March. 24 and at home against Middle Tennessee on March 25.