Golden Eagles set for OVC Tournament at The Ballpark at Jackson
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the second straight year, the Tennessee Tech baseball team will have to wait until Wednesday evening to find out just who its first opponent of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will be, as the Golden Eagles head into postseason play with a first round by after clinching the No. 2 seed Sunday afternoon.
The Tech squad will look to catch fire early in the tournament, an event that can see the team play as little as three games and as many six over three days. The Golden Eagles are set for a 3 p.m. CT start on Thursday, playing the highest remaining seed from the winners on Wednesday.
Wednesday's games pit No. 4 SIUE against No. 5 Morehead State at 3 p.m. and No. 3 Jacksonville State against No. 6 Eastern Illinois at 7 p.m. No. 1 seed Southeast Missouri will face the lowest remaining seed from Wednesday's winners on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Every game of the tournament will be broadcast on the OVC Digital Network and is free to all fans for viewing. Each of Tech's contests will be broadcast on FM 106.1 The Eagle with Dylan Vazzano providing play-by-play and Mike Lehman and Rob Schabert providing color commentary.
TENNESSEE TECH (38-17, 18-12) at OVC TOURNAMENT
Thursday, May 22 /
Friday, May 23 /
Saturday, May 24
The Ballpark at Jackson (6,000) – Jackson, Tenn.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
Webcasts: OVC Digital Network (Dylan Vazzano, Mike Lehman, Rob Schabert)
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Radio: Golden Eagle Sports Network on FM 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano, Mike Lehman, Rob Schabert)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
• One of the premier power hitters in all of college baseball, senior Brandon Thomasson just keeps pounding the cover off the ball. The right fielder has 10 home runs in his past 12 games, totaling 22 on the year to rank just one behind the national leader, Kentucky's A.J. Reed. Thomasson leads Division I ball in total bases (169) and extra base hits (44) as well as ranking second in slugging (.748) and third in RBI (70).
• After already setting new standards in the OVC for both home runs and RBI this season, senior slugger Zach Stephens continues to rewrite both the Tech and league record books. The first baseman broke his seventh team mark over the weekend, playing in his 218th career game, the most in Tech history. Stephens also sits just two total bases from the all-time OVC record of 521 as well as two doubles away from the Tech career record.
• Two of the best players for the Golden Eagles all season, both Daniel Miles and Dylan Bosheers proved they have also been among the nation's best recently, earning a spot among the semifinalists for the 2014 Dick Howser Trophy. Miles leads the Tech squad with a .385 batting average and 63 runs scored while Bosheers has been arguably the best shortstop in the nation with a .369 average and nearly 50 RBI and over 60 runs scored.
TECH VS. THE TOURNAMENT FIELD THIS SEASON
The only team in the tournament to win its season series over the Golden Eagles, the No. 1 seeded Redhawks are the team to beat this year after winning 23 conference games. After falling in the first two games of the series to SEMO, Tech unleashed the bats in game three, salvaging a victory in a 21-10 blowout.
A team that has had the Golden Eagles' number over the past decade, No. 3 seeded Jacksonville State had no answer for this year's Tech squad. TTU swept the Gamecocks in mid-April, scoring 34 runs in the three contests.
The first contest at No. 4 SIUE was one of the premier pitching duels of the season as the Cougars nabbed a 3-1 victory in which both pitchers looked unhittable for much of the game. Tech ultimately made up for the loss, winning the series with back-to-back victories.
Tech hasn't seen No. 5 Morehead State since the second week of the conference schedule, but the Golden Eagle offense clicked on all cylinders in the series. The Tech squad amassed 40 runs in three games, with the only loss coming in a 9-8, extra-inning affair in the first game of a double header.
No. 6 Eastern Illinois managed to sneak a win against the Golden Eagles in mid-April before dropping the series in game three. Tech notched one of its three shutouts on the year in the opener against the Panthers, winning 4-0.