By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MURRAY, Ky. – A doubleheader sweep kept the nation's longest winning streak intact for the Tennessee Tech baseball team, as the No. 25 Golden Eagles (28-5, 16-1) earned a pair of wins at Ohio Valley Conference rival Murray State (17-17, 5-9) Friday evening.
The Tech squad used a pair of stellar pitching performances to provide time for its offense to go work, leading to victories of 9-2 and 15-5 on the day.
In game one, senior hurler Travis Moths tossed six innings of two-hit ball, allowing just one earned and two total runs while striking out five and walking four. He picked up his league-leading seventh victory of the season and moved into a tie for fifth all-time in career wins in program history with David Hess (2012-14).
Finishing the final three innings for Tech was junior closer Ethan Roberts, who entered the game with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. He induced a double play ball that allowed just a single, unearned run to score before punching out Murray's Ramsey Scott for the final out of the frame.
He allowed just one base runner and struck out three to pick up his league-best seventh save of the season. The local Sparta, Tenn. product also tied Seth Lucio (2012-14) for the program's all-time saves record of 22. Roberts set the single-season record last season with 13.
Junior Marcus Evey also fired a gem on his way to his fourth win of the season, completing seven innings while allowing just three hits, a walk and two runs. He struck out four and retired 11 Racer batters in-a-row at one point, providing the bats their chance at blowing open the game.
In Tech's first victory of the day, it was junior Kevin Strohschein who kicked off the scoring, ripping a double through the right side for an RBI in the top of the third. Two frames later, the slugger hammered a solo blast to left field, his 11th of the year.
Senior Chase Chambers followed with a double to left field and junior John Ham brought him home with a two-run shot to left center field, his 11th of the season. Leading 5-1, Tech tacked on two more in the seventh after Ham legged out a triple to right center field for an RBI. Senior David Garza followed with an RBI single to left field.
In the ninth, pinch-hitter Anthony Carrera added to the fireworks, crushing a two-run bomb to right center field for the 9-2 lead.
Game two played out very similar, with both team pretty even until a few innings in. Senior third baseman Trevor Putzig put the Golden Eagles in the lead right away, torching a solo shot to left field for the 1-0 lead.
Murray State managed to match the run in the third with a home run of its own, but it didn't take long for Tech to respond. With Evey flinging magic on the bump, the Golden Eagles settled in and batted around the lineup in the fourth, plating six to break open the game.
With two quick outs, the Tech offense rallied behind a double down the left field line by junior Nick Osborne. Two batters later, senior Collin Harris drove in a run with a single to right field. Then, junior center fielder Alex Junior blew the game wide open by going Ralph-Waldo-Emerson on a 3-1 offering for a three-run moon shot to right center field.
On the very next pitch, Putzig made it back-to-back jacks with his second, long ball of the game, a solo tater to left center field and clear over the scoreboard. It marked his team and OVC-leading 12th dinger of the season. Chambers followed two batters later with an RBI double to make it a 7-1 game.
Tech would score in each of the next four innings as well, including a four-spot in the sixth, to claim the easy 15-5 win. On the day, the Golden Eagles totaled 35 hits and 24 runs.
Strohschein led the potent offense with a 7-for-9 effort in the two games, scoring three runs and driving in two. Chambers finished 3-for-8 with three runs scored and four RBI. Chambers now ranks fourth all-time on the program's career RBI list with 175 while Strohschein ranks just behind in fifth with 173. The two also rank third (Chambers) and fourth (Strohschein) on the career home runs list, with 41 and 40 blasts, respectively.
Putzig wrapped up his day with a 3-for-9 performance that included five runs scored and two RBI, not to mention a pair of home runs. Ham posted a 4-for-8 day with five RBI and three runs scored.
The Golden Eagles will look to lock up their fifth straight OVC series sweep and become just the second team in league history to win 20 games in-a-row on Sunday, squaring off with the Racers one more time at 1 p.m. CT. Due to inclement weather, no game will be played Saturday.
Photo by Tony Marable