By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - An offensive explosion from the bats of the Tennessee Tech baseball team propelled the Golden Eagles (31-10, 13-7) to a huge series victory over Jacksonville State Friday evening, as the Tech squad used a barrage of scoring to down the Gamecocks (21-16, 11-6), 15-4.
Jacksonville State actually looked to have the upper hand in the contest, using a single and double in the first two at bats to put multiple runners in scoring position with no outs. Starting pitcher Chris Chism did a fantastic job of limiting the damage, forcing Griff Gordon to spit a grounder right to him and make the throw home to nab the runner trying to score. Chism then forced a long sacrifice fly before a ground out ended the frame.
The junior finished the night with four earned runs allowed over four innings of work. He allowed just one walk and six hits while striking out three.
Tech followed in the bottom half and never looked back, scoring four runs in the first, one in the third, three in the fifth, and seven in the seventh.
The Gamecocks nearly rallied for the second straight night, scoring three runs over the fourth and fifth innings, coming within one run of the Golden Eagle squad.
But that was as close as things got, as Tech struck three times in the fifth and seven more in the seventh to shut the door and eliminate any comeback attempt.
Every Tech starter collected at least one hit and one RBI in the contest as the Golden Eagles blew up the scoreboard with 19 hits on the night, including seven that went for extra bases.
Leading the Golden Eagles on the night was left fielder David Allen. The junior recorded a career-high four hits in five trips to the dish, plating two while scoring one more himself. Senior leadoff man Zach Zarzour followed with three hits in the contest, scoring two runs and driving in two more. The second baseman also recorded one of Tech's six doubles on the night.
One night after putting together the best offensive game of his career, catcher Jordan Parris enjoyed more success at the plate, driving in two runs and recording a double. Also driving in multiple runs on the night were seniors Daniel Miles and Brandon Thomasson. Miles laced a double while going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk. Thomasson crushed his 12th home run of the year to left center field.
The Golden Eagle pitching staff performed well on the night as well, combining for 11 strikeouts in the contest. Freshman Kyle Keatts picked up his third victory of the season, tossing three innings of relief. He allowed just two hits and one walk while fanning three.
Stanton Taylor and Austin Tolle combined the finish the final two innings, each allowing one hit. Taylor struck out the side before giving way to Tolle to strike out two, including the final batter of the contest.
Game three in the series will commence at 2 p.m. CT Saturday afternoon, pitting Tech's Evan Fraliex against Jacksonville State's Taylor Shields. The Golden Eagles will look to sweep the Gamecocks for the first time since the 2009 season when the Tech squad captured the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship.