By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Believe it or not, Ohio Valley Conference play is here for the Tennessee Tech baseball team as the Golden Eagles prepare to host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.
The Golden Eagle squad enters the series a league-best 11-2, coming off just their second loss of the year. Tech went into Nashville for a Tuesday contest with No. 6 ranked Vanderbilt looking for a repeat of last year's upset win over the Commodores. The Vandy pitching staff just wouldn't allow that to happen, propelling the Dores to a 4-0 victory over the Golden Eagles.
The Colonels come into the weekend with mixed results this season, owning a 4-7 record. EKU made a visit to East Tennessee State Wednesday afternoon, falling to the Bucs in a close 4-3 contest. Eastern Kentucky did get its first series sweep of the season last weekend, taking three games at UNC Asheville.
TENNESSEE TECH (11-2) vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY (4-7)
Friday, Mar. 7 /
Saturday, Mar. 8 /
Sunday, Mar. 9
Bush Stadium (1,100) – Cookeville, Tenn.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
Live Stats: ttusports.com
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• The Golden Eagles took two of three from Eastern Kentucky in Richmond last season, winning the bookends of the series. The Colonels really brought in Game Two, however, exploding offensively for an 18-7 victory over the Tech squad.
• Junior Dylan Bosheers established a new career-high at Vanderbilt, collecting a hit in his 10th consecutive contest. The shortstop leads the Golden Eagles with a .453 batting average, racking up 24 hits so far this season. He ranks second on the team with 18 runs scored and a .604 slugging percentage.
• Just one day removed from earning his first career OVC Player of the Week honors, senior Zach Zarzour kept his hot streak alive, gathering a base hit against the Commodores. He is batting .442 in the leadoff spot for the Golden Eagles and ranks second on the team with 14 RBI.
• Senior Brandon Thomasson has been a monster at the plate for the Golden Eagles, crushing five home runs, two triples, and two doubles while leading the team with an .804 slugging percentage and 17 RBI. He has also scored 13 runs.
• Sporting a 2.00 ERA and three quality starts this season, junior David Hess will make his first career Friday start for the Golden Eagles, entering the contest with a 2-0 record. The right-hander leads Tech in both innings pitched (18.0) and strikeouts (22) and has managed to hold opponents to a .215 batting average.
Here's a look at the pitching match-ups between Tech and Eastern Kentucky:
TENNESSEE TECH'S PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday: David Hess (RHP), JR, 6-1, 205
2-0, 2.00 ERA, 18.0 IP, 22 K, 3 BB
Saturday: Evan Fraliex (RHP), FR, 6-2, 220
0-0, 4.15 ERA, 13.0 IP, 9 K, 5 BB
Sunday: John Gora (LHP), JR, 5-11, 190
1-0, 4.38 ERA, 12.1 IP, 8 K, 9 BB
EASTERN KENTUCKY'S PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER
Friday: Brent Cobb (RHP), SR, 6-0, 170
2-1, 2.37 ERA, 19.0 IP, 6 K, 6 BB
Saturday: Tanner Perkins (LHP), SR, 6-2, 190
1-1, 2.84 ERA, 19.0 IP, 6 K, 3 BB
Sunday: Caleb Johnson (RHP), FR, 6-2, 185
0-0, 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP, 6 K, 1 BB