Stephens matches career home run mark, Tech rolls to 16-9 victory over Austin Peay
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - An offensive outburst by the entire lineup proved more than enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team to prevent a sweep at the hands of Austin Peay Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles blew out the Governors at Bush Stadium, 16-9.
Powered by 17 hits, the Golden Eagles saw every single starter collect at least one hit and score at least one run. Tech went scoreless in just two innings on the day, failing to plate anyone in the fourth and eighth frames.
Even with the big win and all the offensive prowess surrounding the game, one of the biggest highlights of the afternoon belonged to senior slugger Zach Stephens, who in the fifth inning tattooed a ball over the left field fence for his 51st career home run, tying him for first on Tech's all-time career list for home runs with A.J. Kirby-Jones.
Stephens also recorded his 200th career RBI, making him the first player in both Tech and Ohio Valley Conference history to hit 50 home runs and record 200 RBI in a career. He also now sits just four hits away from breaking the all-time hits record at Tech and three long balls from breaking the OVC home run record.
The first baseman was just one of several Golden Eagles who enjoyed a big day at the plate. Senior Daniel Miles, who entered this week as the national leader in hits, enjoyed a 4-for-5 day at the dish, scoring two runs and driving in four more.
Fellow senior Brandon Thomasson also put up big numbers, going 2-for-5 with four RBI, including three off a mammoth three-run shot to dead center field in the first inning that sparked the Tech offense into the huge day from the plate.
Stephens finished the day with two hits in four at bats, driving in three runs, including two on his long ball. Zach Zarzour, Jake Rowland, and David Allen each enjoyed multi-hit games on the day as well. Zarzour scored two runs while finishing 2-for-3 with two walks. Rowland also scored two runs while driving in one more. Allen scored two and drove in two on two hits in four trips to the plate.
The Austin Peay offense did prove to be a tough out again, as the Governors scored nine runs, including four off the bat of shortstop Logan Gray. But the damage dealt by Tech proved to be too much to overcome and Austin Peay starter Caleb DeLee was tabbed with his third loss of the season.
Junior reliever Seth Lucio earned his second win of the year, tossing three innings and striking out four. He allowed three runs in his final inning of work, but managed to keep the Governor offense off balance at a key juncture in the game for two innings.
The win moved the Golden Eagles to 9-6 in OVC play and sole possession of third place in the league standings. Tech also collected its 25th victory of the year.
The Golden Eagles will get a brief break from action on Monday before returning to the Averitt Express Baseball Complex to host the 28th ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday in a 6 p.m. CT match-up. Last year's game between the two programs was canceled due to inclement playing conditions in Knoxville.