CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. --- A five-run first inning, and a solid start from Matthew Shepherd, gave Tennessee Tech everything it needed Saturday as the Golden Eagles evened their series with Southeast Missouri with an 8-3 win.
As they did in game one of the series, the Golden Eagle batters built an early lead as they tagged SEMO starter Tony Zerrusen with five runs on four hits before chasing him after just one inning of work.
All of TTU's five runs in the first came with two outs in the inning. Zach Stephens got the scoring going as he reached base with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to put Tech up 1-0. Dylan Bosheers kept the scoring going with an RBI-single through the left side. Chad Hayes then capped of the inning with a three-run homer to left field to give the Golden Eagles a 5-0.
With a 5-0 lead, Shepherd was nearly perfect through the first three innings as he allowed no runs and just two walks as he fanned six batters. Trenton Moses led off the fourth with SEMO's first hit of the game and was eventually driven in by Ryan Barnes to put the Redhawks on the board at 5-1.
SEMO's Kenton Parmley got the Redhawks closer as he launched a two-run homer to left in the fifth to pull within two at 5-3. Unfazed, Shepherd recovered quickly to get out of the fifth and was able to throw a scoreless sixth and seventh inning before being lifted for Zane Morton with one out in the eighth.
Morton allowed just two hits in 1.2 innings as he nailed down the victory for Tech.
TTU added three insurance runs in the top ninth off SEMO reliever Ryan Prickett, which included a two-run single from Michael Morris and an RBI-walk from Hayes.
Shepherd (4-2) earned the win as he allowed three runs, two earned, in 7.1 innings, while striking out a career-high 11 batters. Zerrusen (1-2) was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs in the first inning. Zack Smith, who came on in relief of Zerrusen, allowed just two hits in 5.2 innings.
Hayes led the Golden Eagle offense with four RBIs, while Morris drove in two.
The rubber game of Tech's three game series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.