By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The dominance on the mound by the Tennessee Tech baseball pitching staff continued for a fourth consecutive game Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (13-5, 4-1) gathered its second straight, 4-1 victory at SIUE (5-11, 1-4) in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Junior Marcus Evey and graduate transfer Colton Provey combined for yet another brilliant display of pitching by the Golden Eagles, combining to hold the Cougars to just five hits and one run in the team's fourth league win.
After starting the season in the bullpen, Evey moved to 2-0 as a starter for Tech, completing five and one third innings while scattering five base runners on three hits and two walks. The right-hander allowed just a single earned run, a solo home run in the fifth, while striking out five Cougar batters.
Provey, a transfer from South Carolina, continued his hot start to the season by finishing the final three and two thirds innings without allowing a run. He earned his first career save while holding SIUE to just two hits in the final four frames. The reliever also struck out six batters, lowering his team-best ERA to a sizzling 1.26 for the year.
A run that began Tuesday evening against West Virginia, the Tech staff has been remarkable while leading the Golden Eagles to a 4-0 record during the week, holding the Big 12 opponent and its OVC rival to a combined three runs in four games. TTU has claimed victories of 8-0, 9-1, 4-1 and 4-1 in that span, holding its opponents to a paltry .125 average, three total runs, 15 hits and 12 walks; all while striking out 33.
The Tech offense continued to support its strong pitching run by providing yet another early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the second. Junior Nick Osborne delivered what turned out to be the winning hit, ripping a two-run double after back-to-back singles from John Ham and David Garza to lead off the inning.
The Golden Eagles made it a 3-0 lead thanks to an RBI double to left field off the bat of junior Kevin Strohschein in the fifth inning. SIUE answered with a solo shot to right field from Aaron Goecks. In the seventh, Tech took back the run with a sacrifice fly to CF by Trevor Putzig.
The defense also played its role in the win, as Provey took over with the bases loaded and just one out in the bottom of the sixth. After working a 1-2 count, the right-hander forced a ground ball to Garza at short who turned the 6-4-3 double play with Ham and senior first baseman Chase Chambers.
With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea showed off his arm, picking off the Cougar runner at first base to end the frame and threat. SIUE boasted the tying run at the plate in the ninth as well, but Provey forced a fielder's choice ball, allowing Garza to hit Ham at second base for the final out of the game.
Tech will look for its first series sweep of the season Sunday afternoon, squaring off with the Cougars in the finale at 1 p.m. CT at Simmons Complex in Edwardsville.
Photo by Tony Marable