By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team got right back on track Saturday afternoon, using a big fourth inning and subsequent scoring to defeat the SIUE Cougars (10-14, 8-3), 8-5. The Golden Eagles (22-6, 7-4) evened up the series behind a strong showing on the offensive side of the ball as well as clutch pitching.
SIUE grabbed an early 1-0 lead, scoring on a ground out by first baseman Alec Saikal. But all things flipped in favor of Tech two innings later.
The Golden Eagles shifted all momentum to their side in the top of the fourth, even with an out on the first pitch. In the second at bat of the inning, shortstop Dylan Bosheers drew a four-pitch walk, quickly followed by a single to left field by redshirt sophomore Jake Rowland. A second out in the inning seemed to end the threat, but Tech just kept making things happen.
With two outs, catcher Jordan Parris ripped a single down the left field line, tying the contest at 1-1. Second baseman Zach Zarzour kept the scoring going, doubling down the left field line and driving in Tech's second run of the contest. Jordan Hopkins drew a walk to load the bases, setting up slugger Zach Stephens for a big at bat. He hung in the box for six pitches before garnering his own free pass to first, driving in the third run of the frame.
Senior Daniel Miles broke the game wide open in tough situation, taking a 0-2 pitch straight to center field and driving in two runs to give Tech a 5-1 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth.
A leadoff single from Bosheers to center field in the next inning gave Tech another opportunity. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting Rowland in position to advance him over to third base with a ground out. Freshman Anthony El Chibani delivered with a 2-0 count, sending a ball deep to right field for a sacrifice fly to drive in a run for a 6-1 lead.
The Cougars made a comeback bid that would fall just short in the sixth inning, scoring four runs on a few miscues by the Golden Eagle defense. At the end of the frame, Tech was left clinging to a 6-5 lead with three to play.
Tech received five and two thirds inning of strong pitching from starter Chris Chism, who earned his fourth victory of the season after allowing six hits and just one earned run while striking out four batters. Senior reliever Ross Spurgeon tossed two innings on the day, scattering three hits while setting down three.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day on the mound belonged to junior closer Seth Lucio who earned his sixth save of the season while completing the final four outs of the game. The right hander allowed just one hit in his appearance, striking out the side in the ninth to give the Golden Eagles their 22nd win of the season.
Junior pitcher Austin Tolle will take the hill in the rubber match of the series Sunday afternoon as the Golden Eagles will look to win their fourth Ohio Valley Conference series of the season. First pitch is set for a 1 p.m. CT start.