Price and Park out-pitch Panthers; Tech takes 3-2 win on Sunday
CHARLESTON, Ill. -- Nick Price and Cullen Park of the Golden Eagle pitching staff held the Panthers of EIU to just four hits on the day en route to Tech's 3-2 win in this weekend's series finale in Charleston.
Both teams went scoreless through four as Tech's starting right-hander Price allowed only one man on with a solitary walk in the second inning, and the Golden Eagles finally put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the fifth inning.
Michael Morris led off with a base hit through the right side and advanced into scoring position on Tevis Sherfield's sac bunt to third base, and moved to third when lead-off man Austin Wulf ripped a single up the middle. A fielder's choice play awarded Casanova Donaldson an RBI as his at-bat served to score Morris, giving TTU a 1-0 lead.
The Panthers answered in the bottom of the frame with a run of their own, however, when Ryan Dineen clocked a two-out double down the right field line and scored the tying run on a throwing error during Tyler Schweigert's at-bat.
With a 1-1 tie score, Tech left two men stranded on base in each the sixth, seventh and eighth innings while Price surrendered just one hit over those three innings to the Panthers. The fate of the game boiled down to the ninth inning, which proved to be in favor of the Golden Eagles and to the disappointment of EIU's Matt Miller.
Miller pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Panthers and, in a one-out situation in the top of the ninth, veteran Chad Oberacker stepped up to bat for Tech and delivered a single through the right side. He moved to second on a failed pick-off attempt as the go-ahead run. Zach Stephens followed up with a walk, and both runners moved up a bag on a wild pitch by Miller.
Ben Burgess got on board on a fielder's choice play at the plate that tagged Oberacker with the second out of the inning, but Chad Hayes proved the hero again with a two-shot double into left center that put Tech up, 3-1.
EIU threatened to rally in the bottom of the ninth as McManus led off with a single down the right field line, but Cullen Park took the hill in relief and, after allowing a single by Ben Thoma and a sacrifice bunt to pinch pitter Nick Priessman, induced two groundouts to get his second save of the year and preserve the win for Price.
Sunday's victory upped Price's record to 3-2 on the season and added two more strikeouts to his stats. Joe Greenfield worked 5.1 innings for the Panthers, allowing seven hits and notching four Ks of his own, but Miller shouldered the loss and a fall to 0-2 on the year.
The Golden Eagles will return to Cookeville to host Belmont in their first home night game of the season, with the first pitch set for 6 p.m.