Tech takes two in twinbill; looking for a Sunday sweep
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech baseball had the hot bats in Saturday's double-header event against Eastern Kentucky, rolling over the Colonels in both contests by posting scores of 9-3 and 10-4.
In game one, the Golden Eagles built an early 5-0 lead over three innings before EKU put their first three on the board in the top of the fourth, kicking it off with a quick 1-0 lead in the first on a lead-off solo shot by Austin Wulf.
A single by designated hitter Tevis Sherfield and base hit by Ben Burgess two batters later put runners on the corners with two outs for Zach Stephens. The freshman first baseman capitalized, dropping an RBI single into left field for the 2-0 lead.
Tech tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the third frame when EKU starter Chris Hord surrendered walks to Casanova Donaldson and Chad Oberacker. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch to set Burgess up for a two-run single through the left side to post the 5-0 lead.
EKU put together a three-run rally on four hits off of Tech's starter, Tristan Archer, in the top of the fourth for their only scoring inning of the contest.. Archer led off the inning by hitting Michael Garcia and allowing a single to Austin Grisham. Matt Phipps followed with a single of his own to score Garcia and leave runners on first and second. Both men advanced to third on a balk by Archer, and Grisham scored on a groundout to Fenaro. The third hit of the inning was ripped into right center field by Richie Rodriguez to score Phipps, and AJ Jamison chipped in with one more single before Garrett Baugh replaced Archer and got the final out of the inning.
With their lead cut to two at 5-3, Tech posted single-run frames in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings, both times courtesy of
Oberacker. Anthony Bazzani took the hill in relief for Hord in the fourth inning and promptly plunked the first three batters he faced to load the bases for Oberacker, who notched an RBI groundout to first to stretch the lead to 6-3.
In the sixth, Oberacker struck with his first single of the game and he combined with Sherfield's base hit and Donaldson's sacrifice bunt to put Tech on top by four with a score of 7-3.
Baugh kept the Colonels scoreless through the next four innings, allowing just one hit and notching one K to get the win and improve to 3-1. Fellow freshman Justin Alexander closed out the game, pitching the top of the ninth and also notching a strikeout.
While EKU went scoreless through the final five, Tech was able to build to a 10-3 lead, working two members of the Colonel bullpen for three more runs off of five hits. Wulf roped a one-out single and stole second in the seventh, scoring on Donaldson's base hit, while Oberacker notched another RBI on a double that scored Donaldson to put Tech up 9-3.
Sherfield notched his third hit of the game in the eighth inning to score Guyear, who entered the line-up for Rivers and posted a 1-for-1 effort, giving Tech their final 10-3 win. Sherfield went 3-for-5 on the day with that sole RBI, while Oberacker's 2-for-4 efforts in game one worked for three RBI.
Hord was tagged for the loss for EKU, falling to 1-2 after giving up five runs on five hits in just three innings pitched.
Tech kept the momentum going in game two, working for 10 runs on nine hits off of Kyle McGrath and Matt Fyffe while Matt Shepherd got a complete game win, allowing just four runs on six hits in seven innings, striking out two and improving to
The Golden Eagles score more runs in the first inning than the Colonels did in all of the second contest, quickly putting up a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first starting with a lead-off double by Wulf. A groundout by Sherfield moved him to third and Donaldson took first after being hit by a pitch. A steal put two men in scoring position for Oberacker, whose sacrifice bunt served to score Wulf and put Cass on third.
With two outs, Burgess walked and Zephan Guyear singled to score Donaldson, giving Tech the 2-0 lead, and put runners on first and second for Stephens. The power hitter ripped a three-shot homer to seal the five run lead in the first inning.
The detrimental first inning was bad news for McGrath, who faced nearly the entire Tech line-up in just one inning of work and shouldered the loss for EKU, falling to 3-4 on the season.
The Colonels were able to cut the lead to two in the second with back-to-back home runs by Soloman and Garcia to lead off the inning, but that was the closest they would come all game. Tech responded with three more runs in the bottom of the inning off of Fyffe on two hits by Donaldson (for one RBI) and Guyear (for the remaining two) to post an 8-3 lead.
Single-run innings in the fourth and sixth for Tech widened the gap and put the Golden Eagles up, 10-2, headed into the top of the seventh.
EKU attempted a late-game rally in putting two more runs on the board in the seventh, but were unable to climb completely out of the 10-4 hole.
On the game, Tech saw nine hits by six different batters in comparison to EKU's six hits by as many batters. The Golden Eagles were paced at the plate by two 2-for-3, three-RBI efforts from both Guyear and Stephens in game two, while Overacker went 1-for-1 with two RBI and three runs scored.
With new records of 19-21/8-6 for Tech and 14-29/6-11 for EKU, the two teams will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the series finale.