Golden Eagles split doubleheader, claim OVC series from Morehead State
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
MOREHEAD, Ky. – Not even a heartbreaking, 10-inning loss in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader could break the spirit of the Tennessee Tech baseball team, as the Golden Eagles (17-4, 4-2) erupted for 10 runs in the first inning of the second contest to split the day with Morehead State (8-10, 2-4) and ultimately claim its second Ohio Valley Conference series of the year.
The Golden Eagles fell in heart breaker in Game No. 1 as Morehead State rallied in both the eighth and 10th innings to spoil Tech's attempts at a series sweep with a 9-8 victory.
Tech kicked things off in the second inning, grabbing a run off an RBI double by second baseman Zach Zarzour. Morehead State quickly answered in the bottom half, scraping across a run of its own to even things a 1-1.
The Eagles looked to break things open in the bottom of the third, scoring three times off RBI singles from Jimmy Wright, Tyler Bigler, and Jeff Birkofer. But the Golden Eagles responded two innings later, putting up a four spot behind the power of two two-run home runs. Senior Daniel Miles cranked the first one and junior Jordan Hopkins followed three batters after.
With that the Golden Eagles had taken a 5-4 lead. And Tech was ready to keep going, scoring twice more in the top of the seventh. Shortstop Dylan Bosheers pounded a two-run double down the right field line, extending Tech's lead to 7-4 and putting the Golden Eagles in a good spot for a win.
Morehead State stayed patient and determined, however, tying things up in the bottom of the eighth behind three clutch hits. The Eagles nearly took the lead, sending Kane Sweeney around third following the tying run, but Zarzour managed to throw out the first baseman at the plate.
Both teams went blank in the ninth, forcing an extra inning to determine a winner. Tech looked sure to be the victor too, taking a 9-8 lead off a solo shot by Miles, his second dinger of the game.
But once again, the Eagles refused to give up and managed to grab two runs in the bottom of the 10th to give Morehead State a big win.
Closer Seth Lucio was dealt his first loss of the season, surrendering three runs in 2.1 innings of relief.
Miles finished the first contest an impressive 4-for-5 at the dish, driving in three runs while scoring three more himself on the power of two home runs. Bosheers and Hopkins each drove in two runs and Zarzour recorded on RBI on a 3-for-5 day at the plate.
The day was far from over for the Tech squad despite the loss. In the second game, the Golden Eagles proved just how fast it they put a loss behind them, striking for 10, yes, 10 runs in the first inning alone.
Zarzour kicked off the contest with a single through the right side, followed almost immediately by another single by Hopkins through the left side. Senior slugger Zach Stephens drew a walk after being down 0-2 in the count, loading the bases for Miles. He started the scoring with a fielder's choice ball to second base, driving in Zarzour.
Hopkins scored on a passed ball in the next at bat, but Morehead managed to record its second out following the run. The Eagles looked sure to get out of the inning with just two runs surrendered.
Unfortunately for Morehead State, Tech was far from done. Bosheers took the first pitch he saw through the right side, driving in Miles to up the lead to 3-0. Redshirt freshman Tyler Brazelton kept the inning alive by drawing a walk and center fielder Jake Rowland followed with an RBI single. Tech was now up 4-0.
Freshman Anthony El Chibani walked to load the bases, chasing Morehead State starter Luke Schneider from the game. Zarzour didn't make things easy on the new pitcher, however, as he drew an RBI walk to up the advantage to 5-0. Hopkins then crushed Morehead's heart, clearing the bases with a double to left field and making the lead 8-0.
Stephens added the exclamation point on the inning, taking the first pitch he saw over the left center field wall to give Tech a crazy 10-0 lead before the Eagles even saw a pitch.
Bosheers smacked a long ball on the first pitch of the second inning to make it 11-0 and from there on the out it was just back-and-forth scoring for both teams.
Tech went on to defeat Morehead State in the second game by a decisive score of 17-8. Tech collected 20 hits in the contest, winning its second OVC series of the year to move to 4-2 in league play.
Freshman Kyle Keatts gathered his first win of the year, tossing 2.2 innings of relief while allowing just one hit and surrendering no runs.
Hopkins led the Tech attack in the second contest, recording five RBI on the power of a 4-for-6 performance at the plate. He also scored two runs. Stephens tallied three RBI thanks to two hits and Bosheers and Rowland went each went 4-for-6 with two RBI. Bosheers scored two runs while Rowland scored three.
The Golden Eagles will have the midweek off before returning to Cookeville for a three-game series against in-state rival UT Martin.