By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team (23-6, 8-4) took a big step towards a second Ohio Valley Conference championship Sunday afternoon, rallying for its fourth league series victory in a come-from-behind, 10-6 win against the Cougars (10-15, 8-4) of SIU Edwardsville.
It was a back-and-forth affair most of the day, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early, 1-0 lead behind the bat of designated hitter Jordan Hopkins. The junior kicked off the scoring with an RBI double to center field.
Shortstop Dylan Bosheers added to the lead in the top of the fourth, blasting his fifth home run of the season over the left field fence, propelling the Tech squad to a 2-0 lead.
SIUE answered in the bottom half, however, using solo shots by Devin Caldwell and Alex Saikal, as well as an RBI double from Jacob Stewart, to take a 3-2 advantage. The Cougars added to that lead in the fifth, scoring twice more to seemingly knock the wind out of the Tech squad.
But the Golden Eagles proved they are not to ever be counted out, scoring a run in the top of the sixth thanks to a pinch-hit, RBI single by junior David Allen. Tech seemed destined to tie the game right there in the sixth, loading the bases with just one out. SIUE forced two fly balls and seemed to avoid the Tech offensive outburst that the Golden Eagles routinely display, hanging on to a 5-3 lead.
The Cougars couldn't hang on forever though, as the Golden Eagle bats took another step in the seventh inning, tying the game with two runs. The Tech bunch started with a walk by slugger Zach Stephens and followed that with senior Daniel Miles getting hit by a pitch.
Both runners advanced a base thanks to a wild pitch and Bosheers followed a Tech out with a sacrifice fly that put the Golden Eagles within one. Center fielder Jake Rowland drove in the tying run, singling to to his own position and driving in Miles to knot things up at 5-5.
The Tech offense had more to offer, blowing the game open and taking the lead (this time for good) with a five spot in the eighth inning. Things started with a leadoff single by Allen, who took a ball up the middle on an 0-2 count. Jordan Parris laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him into scoring position and second baseman Zach Zarzour set up a score with a base hit up the middle. Allen rounded third and slid in safely at the plate thanks to a throwing error by the Cougars.
Hopkins kept things going with his own single up the middle, driving in a second Tech run. Stephens and Miles followed with back-to-back walks, loading the bases for Brandon Thomasson. The senior singled through the left side for Tech's third run of the inning. Bosheers made it four runs in the frame with his second sac fly of the game and Rowland finished the scoring with an RBI single down the left field line.
Closer Seth Lucio came on in the bottom of the eighth inning, making his second appearance in two games. The junior did surrender his first home run in two years in the eighth, but shut down the Cougars over the long haul, striking out two batters while also forcing SIUE into a double play.
Reliever Kyle Keatts grabbed his second win of the season, tossing one inning of relief while surrendering just hit.
On the day, Bosheers led the offense with three RBI and two runs scored on a 1-for-3 effort. Rowland collected three hits in four at bats, driving in two runs while walking once. Hopkins also collected two RBI in the contest, scoring a run while reeling off two hits.
Zarzour scored two runs out of the leadoff spot and Miles scored twice as well, despite losing his 14-game hitting streak. Allen went 2-for-3 with a run scored after pinch-hitting in the sixth inning.
The Golden Eagles will stay on the road for a single contest at Alabama A&M Tuesday afternoon, making the trip to Huntsville, Ala. for a 3 p.m. game. Tech will look to keep its momentum rolling in the contest, searching for its 24th victory of the season.