By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – On a day set aside to honor the members of the Tennessee Tech baseball team that forged the program's history, the Golden Eagles (36-13) provided the best outcome to do just that. Tech defeated in-state foe Lipscomb (27-21), 15-2, after recognizing over 20 former players and coaches prior to the contest as part of Legend's Day.
A relatively close contest to start, the Golden Eagles broke the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four times to take a five run lead. Three more runs in the sixth and a five-spot in the eighth more than ensured Tech of its 36th victory of the year.
A near-record performance from redshirt sophomore Jake Rowland led the Golden Eagles to the victory over their in-state rival. The center fielder crushed two home runs as part of a 3-for-5 day at the dish. He finished with seven RBI, a mark that would have broken the single-game Tech record if teammate Daniel Miles hadn't already beaten the mark with an eight-RBI contest earlier this season.
Shortstop Dylan Bosheers and first baseman Zach Stephens each had big days at the plate as well. Bosheers finished with two RBI with two hits over four trips to the plate. He also walked once while scoring a game-high three times. Stephens collected three hits in four at bats, garnering a free pass and scoring twice as well. He collected the lone double of the contest while driving in two.
Senior reliever Ross Spurgeon picked up his fourth victory of the season, tossing two and two thirds innings while allowing no hits and no runs. The right-hander struck out two and walked just one.
Freshman Kyle Keatts put together a solid performance in his first career weekend start, allowing just two runs in three and two thirds innings.
Lipscomb second baseman Mike Korte picked up both RBI for the Bisons, singling in two runners in the fourth to pull his team within a single run. Starter Denton Norman was dealt his fifth loss of the year after allowing six earned and seven total runs in four and two thirds innings.
Rowland kicked things off for the Golden Eagles in the bottom of the second, blasting a towering two-run shot to right center field on the first pitch he saw. He tacked on three more RBI with a single swing in the fifth, drilling a line drive that just cleared the fence in right field for his second long ball of the game.
That just didn't seem to be enough for the Decatur, Tenn. native, however, as Rowland squared up a pitch in the eighth with the bases loaded. A single through the right side drove in two more to give the young outfielder a career-high seven RBI for the day.
With the offense clicking across the entire lineup, the Golden Eagles will look to bring the hot attack into the biggest series of the season. Tech will host current Ohio Valley Conference leader Southeast Missouri in a three-game set beginning Friday, May 9.
The mission is simple for the Golden Eagles. They will have to sweep the RedHawks and then win at least two of three contests at in-state rival Belmont to collect at least a share of the OVC regular season title. Two series sweeps would give the Golden Eagles the league crown outright.