February 17, 2012

Archer and Morton keep Missouri State in check in season opener

LUBBOCK, Texas --- Tennessee Tech's one-two punch of juniors Tristan Archer and Zane Morton proved too much for Missouri State Friday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles opened their 2012 season with a 3-2 win.

"It was a fun game," head coach Matt Bragga. "Tristan and Zane were both phenomenal and defensively our guys played fundamentally sound baseball. When you have good pitching and defense you got a shot to win every game."

Archer seemed to have an answer for every would-be Bears rally as he threw six shutout innings, while striking out five batters compared to just four hits given up. MSU managed to get at least one base runner in every inning, including two instances when it loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings, but could not get a runner to cross the plate.

The sixth inning proved most crucial as the Bears loaded the bases with nobody out. Undaunted, Archer stuck out the next two batters and forced a pop fly to end the inning.

As solid as Archer was on the mound at the start of the game, junior Zane Morton from Midland, Texas, was equally effective at the end of the game as he came on in relief of junior Nick Price with one out in the seventh inning.

In 2.2 innings, Morton struck out two batters and allowed just one hit as he earned his first save as a Golden Eagle.

"For Zane to have his first outing go like that near his home was something special," Bragga said. "This is exactly what we expected Zane to be capable of."

While Archer and Morton kept the Bears in check, the Golden Eagle batters pestered MSU starter and ace Nick Petree during his seven innings of work as they managed to tally three runs on seven hits and a walk.

In the second inning senior Ben Burgess reached second base on an error, which set the table for junior Evan Frazier as he singled to center to put the Golden Eagles up 1-0.

TTU added another run in the fifth, as senior Chad Hayes singled home junior Zephan Guyear. Tech posted another run in the sixth as Frazier scored on an MSU fielding error.

Tech finished the game with seven hits, three of which came off the bat of junior Austin Wulf.

Missouri State, which was ranked 31st in the nation by College Baseball News and picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference, finished the day with eight hits, including Luke Voits two-run shot in the seventh, which brought the score to 3-2.

The Golden Eagles (1-0) continue play in the Red Raider Classic Saturday as they take on Missouri State at 12 p.m., and Texas Tech at 4 p.m.