COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- Game one of Tennessee Tech's series with Eastern Illinois proved to be a back-and-forth battle, but it was the Panthers who would rally for two runs in the ninth and one in the 10th inning to earn the 7-6 win.
The Golden Eagles seemed to have things well in hand heading into the eight inning after they had just rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. Zach Stephens opened the inning with a single and eventually scored on Ben Burgess' two-run shot that knotted up the score at four.
Tech reliever Garrett Baugh kept the Panthers off the scoreboard in the eighth, but in the ninth the first two batters reached base and Baugh was lifted for David Hess. Despite the pitching change, EIU was able to get two runs to force extra innings. George Kalousek drove in the first run to make it 6-5 before Caleb Howell tied the game at six with an RBI-single.
Hess managed to avoid further damage in the ninth, and sent the game into the bottom of the inning still tied at six. Adam Clark took the hill for the Panthers in the ninth and kept the Golden Eagles hitless, setting the stage for TJ McManus' solo-shot in the 10th to give the Panthers a 7-6 lead. Tech managed to get one base runner in the bottom of the inning but it could not bring the runner around as EIU held on for the 7-6 win.
Clark (1-0) earned the win for EIU as he threw two shutout innings, while striking out five batters. Hess (2-5) took the loss as he gave up one run in two innings, while fanning four.
McManus led the Panther offense with three RBIs and three hits, while Burgess drove in a team-leading three RBIs for the Golden Eagles.
TTU starter Tristan Archer gave up four runs, one earned, in six innings of work. He struck out eight batters, while giving up just six hits. EIU starter Mike Hoekstra gave up two runs in 5.1 innings while striking out three batters.
Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.