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February 21, 2009

Tech splits twinbill with St. Peters; Win 12-6 but fall in nightcap, 5-2

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech won its third straight from St. Peters College, using another offensive explosion to post a 12-6 win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

In the second game, St. Peters rallied behind a strong performance by starting pitcher Don Macaluso to claim a 5-2 victory in the series finale.

Tech (3-1) pounded out 15 hits in the opening game, including five doubles and three home runs. In game two, Tech could muster just six hits and couldn’t overcome a second inning grand slam that staked Maculuso to a 5-0 lead.

Evan Webb led the assault in game one, hitting two home runs and going 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored. After striking out in his first at bat, Webb smashed a three-run homer in Tech’s seven-run third inning. He followed with a solo home run in the fourth, and poked a double during the two-run eighth inning.

Cory Wright also collected three hits in the game and four RBI. He also hit a three-run home run in the third and added a single in the fifth and a double in the eight. With two walks, Wright reached base five times.

This win wasn’t without some drama, as St. Peter’s jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on starter Matt Shepherd with single runs in the second and third innings. The freshman (1-0) got the win, working five innings and allowing four runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out five in his first career start.

Ryan Dennick was on the mound for the middle three innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He didn’t walk a hitter and fanned six. Chad Hayes tossed a scoreless eighth to close things out, allowing just one base runner on a walk.

St. Peters used five pitchers in the contest, with starter Craig Hughes (0-1) taking the loss. He yielded seven runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out four.

After falling behind 7-2 in the third, the Peacocks stayed in the contest with two in the fourth to make it a 7-4 contest. Tech added a single run in the fourth and two in the fifth to go on top 10-4, and once again St.Peters battled back.

The visitors scored twice in the top of the seventh to make it 10-6 and had the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate before Dennick slammed the door with a strikeout and groundout.

Kevin Madison drove in three runs, including a solo home run in the first. He was one of three Peacocks with two hits in the game.

In the second contest Saturday
, sophomore A.J. Kirby-Jones tossed five strong shutout innings in relief, but the Golden Eagles could not take advantage.

St. Peters scored five runs on just one hit off Tech starter Chad Oberacker in the second. The inning opened with John Lynch getting hit by a pitch, a ground out and two walks to load the bases. With two outs, another walk forced home the first run, and Conor Mullee swatted a grand slam for the only hit of the inning to make it 5-0.

The Golden Eagles ended the first and third innings by hitting into double plays, and left two runners on base in the fourth. Tech finally got through with a run against Macaluso in the fifth on a walk, wild pitch, groundout and sacrifice fly by Casanova Donaldson. Macaluso stranded another runner with a strikeout.

Tech scored another run in the sixth as Heath Cheverton doubled to drive home Webb to make it 5-2.

That chased Macaluso and brought in Joe Jimenez, who walked the first batter he faced but got the next batter to look at a called third strike.

Kirby-Jones continued to mow down the Peacocks, and Tech went to the final inning down 5-2. Donaldson singled to lead off the inning, but after a groundout, Jiminez got a line drive off the bat of Alex Henry and Donaldson was doubled off at second to end the contest.

The Golden Eagles visit Middle Tennessee State Wednesday for a 3 p.m. contest against the Blue Raiders.