By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In one of the most classic of baseball match-ups (great pitching against great hitting), pitching reigned supreme Tuesday afternoon as the Tennessee Tech baseball team fell at No. 8 Vanderbilt, 4-0.
The Golden Eagles, which represented the great hitting team in the match-up in Nashville, never could quite get the offense going, struggling to overcome the spectacular pitching performance by the Vanderbilt staff.
Tech entered the contest ranking in the top five in the nation of several different offensive categories, including the second most runs scored in the country with 118. The Commodores entered having surrendered just 22 runs all season and ranking first in all of Division I baseball in hits allowed per game with a mark of just over five.
And the Vanderbilt staff did just what it was expected to, limiting the Golden Eagle bats to just three hits in the game while striking out 11.
The Tech squad did have two good looks at scoring in the contest, beginning in the top of the second inning. After a quick out to open the Tech half, senior Brandon Thomasson drew a four-pitch walk, advancing to second base on a wild pitch. Shortstop Dylan Bosheers followed with his own free pass, putting two on with one out and designated hitter Jordan Hopkins coming to the plate.
Hopkins patiently delivered with a base on balls of his own, loading the bases for left fielder David Allen. Commodore starter Walker Buehler dug deep, inducing a ground ball that the Vandy defense turned into an inning-ending double play and avert the Tech threat.
The Golden Eagles put one more attack together in the top of the eighth, putting two runners on base with no outs. But relief pitcher Hayden Stone shut the door after allowing the two to reach, striking out the next three Tech batters to end the inning.
Stone finished with eight strikeouts in three relief innings, gathering his first save of the year.
Tech starter Jacob Honea had a solid start, tossing three innings while allowing just three hits and two earned runs, but was ultimately dealt his first loss of the season. Relievers Austin Tolle, Justin Alexander, Jeb Scoggins, and Kyle Keatts combined to wrap up the final five frames, allowing a combined two runs on just three hits.
Bosheers extended his hitting streak to 10 games on the day, setting a new career-high while going 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk. Zach Zarzour and Zach Stephens each recorded a hit in the contest as well.
The Golden Eagle squad will open Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend, beginning with a 3 p.m. Friday tilt against Eastern Kentucky at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.