COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - For the second time in as many days the Tennessee Tech baseball team found itself in a deep hole against Cleveland State. But the end result was much different on Saturday as the Golden Eagles rallied with a seven-run seventh inning to clinch a 10-8 victory in the second game of a three-game set with the Vikings.
Lee Henry earned the win for the Golden Eagles, pitching the final 5.2 innings in relief without allowing a run while recording nine strikeouts and allowing only three hits. Henry is now 1-0 on the season. Travis Miller got the loss for CSU after pitching 2.0 innings and allowing three runs. The Golden Eagles improve to 3-2 on the season, while Cleveland State falls to 1-4.
Tech's Chad Oberacker went 3-for-4 from the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Chad Hayes went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Nine different Golden Eagle batters had a hit in the contest.
Tech got its 10 runs on 13 hits and finished with one error and 14 stranded base-runners, while CSU scored eight runs on 11 hits with no errors and eight runners left on base.
Alex Johnson, Bob Suitca and Kyle Shaffer each went 3-for-5 from the plate for the Vikings, and Shaffer finished with five RBIs. CSU starter Coty Bates pitched six innings and allowed seven hits and four runs with eight strikeouts and did not factor into the decision.
The Golden Eagles got on the board first with a two-run first inning, which began when Oberacker drew a leadoff walk. Tate McMillan followed with a single to right field that advanced Oberacker to third. With runners on the corners A.J. Kirby-Jones drew a walk to load the bases. Ben Burgess and Casanova Donaldson would each follow with RBI ground-outs to put Tech up 2-0.
The Vikings would rally for three runs in the top of the second inning, capped by a two-run single to right field from Shaffer to give CSU a 3-2 lead . The Vikings added five more runs in the top of the fifth inning to take an 8-2 lead, which would stand until the bottom of the seventh.
But Tech would storm back with a furious seventh inning rally. The Golden Eagles brought 12 batters to the plate, and Oberacker, McMillan, Chad Hayes and Austin Wulf would each collect at least one RBI as Tech plated seven runs to take a 9-8 lead. The Golden Eagles added an insurance run in the eighth to seal the 10-8 victory.
The teams will square off in the series-deciding third game beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Golden Eagles will be on the road on March 2 with a visit to Vanderbilt before returning to Bush Stadium for a three-game series against Bradley beginning with a double-header on March 6. Admission to all Tech home baseball games is free.