By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
CHARLESTON, Ill. - The Tennessee Tech baseball team kept its momentum rolling forward Friday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (27-9, 10-6) used an excellent pitching performance and clutch hitting to down the Eastern Illinois Panthers (10-23, 4-9), 4-0.
Long balls were the key to the day offensively as senior Brandon Thomasson launched a solo shot in the top of the sixth to propel Tech to a 1-0 lead. A historical three-run shot wrapped up the scoring as slugger Zach Stephens hammered a bomb to left field in the top of the seventh.
The home run marked the second hit of the game for Stephens, and more notably, another career record for the first baseman. The hit marked the 254th of his career, giving him the most in the history of Tennessee Tech.
Stephens' massive shot also propelled him into a tie for the Ohio Valley Conference career record for home runs. It marked the 53rd home run of his career and took the wind out of any comeback hopes the Panthers may have had.
On the mound, the Golden Eagles received a dominating performance from starter David Hess. The junior tossed eight and a third of an inning, scattering six hits and striking out five Panther batters.
Closer Seth Lucio came on for the final two outs, striking out the first batter he saw on three pitches before forcing a ground out on the next offering to end the game. The junior collected his eighth save of the season, giving him 20 in his career.
The Golden Eagles will send Chris Chism to the hill for game two on Saturday, looking to take down the Panthers and grab their fifth OVC series win of the year. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT.