Golden Eagle baseball team faces two in-state foes

Weekly Game Notes (PDF)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. –- After going 4-2 last week to get back to .500 for the season, the Tennessee Tech baseball team will return to action with four games against in-state foes this week. The Golden Eagles will host East Tennessee State on March 17 at 6 p.m. in Bush Stadium before visiting Memphis for a three-game set March 19-21.

The Golden Eagles are 8-8 on the season, while ETSU, out of the Atlantic Sun Conference, comes in with a 10-3 record. Tech is 5-5 at home in 2010, and 3-3 on the road.

The Golden Eagles and Bucs will meet for the front end of a home-and-home series, with Tech returning the favor with a visit to Johnson City on April 28. The Golden Eagles and Bucs split a home-and-home series last season, with the home team winning both games. Tech owns a 46-40 advantage in the all-time series against ETSU.

In last year’s meeting between the two teams in Cookeville, Casanova Donaldson went 5-for-5 from the plate, and tied the Tech school record for hits in a game. Donaldson became the 14th player in program history to hit safely five times in a game.

Tech’s three-game weekend series at Memphis begins on March 19 with a 6:30 start time. Memphis enters the week at 5-10 overall in 2010, and has yet to start Conference-USA play. The Tigers hold a 23-7 lead in the all-time series against Tech.

The Golden Eagles are led by A.J. Kirby-Jones, who has hit eight home runs this year, becoming Tech’s all-time home runs leader with 33 in his career. Kirby-Jones leads the OVC with a .980 slugging percentage in 2010 and is hitting .408 at the plate. Junior Chad Oberacker is tied with Kirby-Jones for the team lead in RBIs with 21, while freshman Zephan Guyear leads the team with a .424 batting average.

Tech’s pitching staff is highlighted by starters Lee Henry, Adam Liberatore and Tristan Archer. Henry is 1-1 on the season and leads the team with a 1.29 ERA after giving up only two earned runs in 14.0 innings pitched. Liberatore is 2-1 with a 5.03 ERA and has fanned 16 batters in 19.2 innings of work on the season. Archer has a 2-0 record with a 5.00 ERA and has struck out 10 batters in 18.0 innings of work.

Tech’s bullpen is led by Ryan Hopkins, who leads the team with two saves on the season. Hopkins’ 2.38 ERA is second best on the team, and his opponents have hit just .088 against him. Hopkins has allowed only three hits in 11.1 innings pitched, while striking out nine batters.

The Golden Eagles will face their four consecutive in-state opponent next week with a visit to Belmont on March 23. Tech went 2-0 against the Bruins last season. Tech will then return home to host Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in a three-game series March 26-28.

Admission to all Tech home baseball games is free.