No. 20 Tech baseball kicks off NCAA Tournament action at Oxford Regional Friday

No. 20 Tech baseball kicks off NCAA Tournament action at Oxford Regional Friday

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TENNESSEE TECH GAME NOTES 
MISSOURI STATE GAME NOTES 
OLE MISS GAME NOTES 
SAINT LOUIS NOTES 

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Baseball NCAA Oxford Regional Preview (5/22)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 20 nationally-ranked Tennessee Tech baseball team is headed for Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss. for the 2018 NCAA Tournament and the Oxford Regional, which runs from Friday, June 1 through Monday, June 4. The Golden Eagles enter the regional as the No. 2 seed.

The Golden Eagles (48-9) will square off with No. 3 seed Missouri State (39-15) at 2 p.m. CT on Friday. The Oxford Regional host, and overall No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, is Ole Miss (46-15), who will take on the region's No. 4 seed Saint Louis (38-18) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

All tournament action will be broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks, with Friday's action featured on ESPN3. Every Golden Eagle contest will also be available on 106.1 The Eagle with Dylan Vazzano on the call.

Fans are encouraged to follow social media, the TTUsports.com and OVCsports.com websites for updates concerning any game time changes or delays with inclement weather possible in the Oxford area throughout the week.

OXFORD REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, June 1

Game 1: #2 Tennessee Tech vs. #3 Missouri State
     2 p.m. CT (ESPN3)
Game 2: #1 Ole Miss vs. #4 Saint Louis
     6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
Saturday, June 2
Game 3: Losers of Game 1 and 2
     Noon CT (TBD)
Game 4: Winners of Game 1 and 2
     6 p.m. CT (TBD)
Sunday, June 3
Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
     1 p.m. CT (TBD)
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5
     5 p.m. CT (TBD)
Sunday, June 4
Game 7: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6
     6 p.m. CT (If Necessary)

 

Twitter: @TNTech_Baseball | Facebook: /TennesseeTechBaseball | Instagram: TNTech_Baseball

TENNESSEE TECH GOLDEN EAGLES
2018 Record: 48-9
2018 OVC Record: 27-3 (1st)
Head Coach: Matt Bragga
TTU: 441-389-2 (15th Season)
Career: 566-483-2 (19th Season)
Since 2008: 328-231-2 

STATS LEADERS
AVG: Kevin Strohschein (.406)
2B: Kevin Strohschein (17)
3B: 4 players tied (3)
HR: Kevin Strohschein (18)
RBI: Chase Chambers (76)
R: Alex Junior (78)
BB: Alex Junior (49)
SB: Collin Harris (9)
ERA: Ethan Roberts (2.25)
W: Travis Moths (13)
APP: Ethan Roberts (24)
IP: Travis Moths (89.0)
K: Travis Moths (93)
SV: Ethan Roberts (14)

Tech is ranked in all six national polls for the fourth straight week, including:

Baseball America - 25
Collegiate Baseball - 22
D1Baseball.com - 20
NCBWA - 20
Perfect Game - 23
USA TODAY Coaches - 23

Several Tech players rank among the national leaders in several categories as well:

Batting Average - Kevin Strohschein (5th), Chase Chambers (9th)
Hits - Kevin Strohschein (1st), Chase Chambers (7th)
Hits Per Game - Kevin Strohschein (2nd)
On Base Percentage - Chase Chambers (8th)
RBI - Chase Chambers (2nd)
RBI Per Game - Trevor Putzig (3rd), Chase Chambers (4th)
Runs - Alex Junior (3rd), Chase Chambers (4th), David Garza (8th), Kevin Strohschein (10th)
Runs Per Game - Alex Junior (2nd), Chase Chambers (4th), John Ham (9th)
Sacrifice Flies - Trevor Putzig (3rd)
Slugging Percentage - Kevin Strohschein (8th)
Strikeouts Per Nine Innings - Ethan Roberts (8th)
Total Bases - Kevin Strohschein (1st)
Victories - Travis Moths (2nd)

THAT'S JUST OFFENSIVE
The Golden Eagle offense has been firing at a historic pace all season, currently leading all of Division I baseball in batting average, hits, home runs, home runs per game, on base percentage, runs, scoring, slugging percentage and win/loss percentage.

Tech also ranks sixth nationally in doubles and doubles per game, and seventh in base on balls.

On May 6, at Belmont, Tech broke the program record for runs scored in a single season, set by the 2017 Golden Eagle program. This year, the Golden Eagles have already scored 596 runs, a pace of 10.5 runs per game.

This season, the explosive lineup has erupted to plate at least five runs in a single inning 27 times.

The Golden Eagles haves scored in double figures 27 times in 2018, including 11 games of 15+ runs and four occasions of 20+.

Tech has scored so many runs this season, the team boasts the top SIX players in runs scored in the OVC and FOUR of the nation's top 10.

FANS DIG THE LONG BALL
With a three-run blast by Trevor Putzig at the OVC Tournament, the Golden Eagles broke the OVC record for home runs in a single season with its 128th of the year, passing the 2002 Morehead State squad. Tech has hit at least one home run in all but 10 contests this season.

All 15 of Tech's position players to see the diamond this season have hit at least one home run this season, the most players to go yard for a single team in the nation. Fourteen of those batters have smashed at least two dingers while 13 have slugged at least three taters.

A whopping seven Golden Eagles have reached double figures in round-trippers, including Kevin Strohschein (18), David Garza (16), Trevor Putzig (16), Chase Chambers (15), John Ham (13), Collin Harris (10) and Nick Osborne (10).

Two more Tech batters are within striking distance of the double-digit plateau, including Brennon Kaleiwahea (7) and Alex Junior (7).

Averaging 2.25 home runs per game requires several contests with multiple shots. Tech has taken that note to heart, blasting three bombs in eight contests, four dingers in six games and five or more round-trippers six times.

Tech shattered its program mark for home runs in a single game earlier in the season, pounding out a whopping 11 in a 30-17 victory over Illinois State. The two teams combined for 15 in the contest, also a program record.

Tech's previous record was 99 homers, set during the 2017 season, before breaking that record with an NCAA-leading 128 this season. The 128 also represents an Ohio Valley Conference single-season record.

Before the 2011 season, the NCAA put in new requirements for BBCOR bats, reducing exit speeds of balls put in play. This season, Tech became just the second Division I team to reach triple-digits in home runs in the BBCOR era (Wake Forest, 2017).

Before the 2015 season, the seams on NCAA baseball were lowered from 0.48 inches to 0.31 inches - similar to minor leagues and still higher than MLB.

Since 2009, the Golden Eagles rank third in the nation with a total of 675 long balls, behind only Mercer (714) and Dallas Baptist (701). Tech also represents one of just four teams with more than 600 dingers during that span.

The Golden Eagles have hit back-to-back jacks 11 times this season, including twice in five batters against Illinois State. Tech has also hammered 24 long balls to leadoff an inning in 2018.

Five Tech batters have gone yard multiple times in a single game this season. Strohschein has managed it three times, while Garza, Osborne and Putzig have all done it twice. Ham has accomplished the feat once.

Boasting a career day at the plate at Murray State, Nick Osborne didn't just set a personal record with eight RBI, he also became just the Tech fourth player since 1975 to hit two home runs in the same game that included a grand slam. He also represents just the third Golden Eagle to have both a grand slam and three-run homer in the same game in that same span.

Both Strohschein and Putzig tied the program's single-game home run record in the same contest this season. The teammates each blasted three long balls against Illinois State on Feb. 24.

With as many records that have fallen under the hefty swings of the Golden Eagle bats this season, it seems only fitting the team has tied the program record for grand slams in a single year, swatting eight on the year to tie the mark set in back in 2016.

Thanks to a mighty swing to complete a nine-run rally, Chase Chambers tied the program's career grand slam mark in an 18-17 victory at Morehead State. The bases-loaded blast marked the fifth of the senior's career (and second of the year), tying the mark set by Matt Ballard (1989-92).

The middle infield has produced a monster power surge for the Golden Eagles in 2018, boasting the most prolific mashers at their respective positions in program history. Senior David Garza, who is a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, has smashed 16 dingers and driven in 68 runs on the year, both school records for a shortstop. Junior John Ham has connected for 13 round-trippers and 58 RBI, new program marks for a Tech second baseman.

Junior Kevin Strohschein became just the fourth player in OVC history and second in Tech history to produce three seasons with at least 14 home runs. The other Golden Eagle? How about the league's all-time leader in long balls, Zach Stephens (2011-14).

ALL THEY DO IS WIN WIN WIN
For the fourth time under the tutelage of Matt Bragga, the Golden Eagles have reached the 40-win plateau, collecting its 40th victory with a 10-0 shutout at Belmont on May 6.

This marks the first time the team has reached 40 wins during the regular season in program history. Tech finished with 40 Ws in 2013 and 2014 and a previous school-record 41 in 2017. The Golden Eagles set the OVC record for single-season wins with No. 48 against Morehead State during the OVC Tournament.

With win No. 40 in the books on May 6, Tech became the first team in the nation to reach the 40-win mark this season.

From Mar. 13 to a loss on Apr. 29, the Golden Eagles won 28-straight games, establishing new OVC record, breaking the previous mark of 22-consecutive wins by Murray State in 1975. The mark was just six shy of the NCAA record held by Florida Atlantic and Texas. It also doubled the previous program record of 14 wins in-a-row set by the 1955 and 2013 teams.

Tech won 17 consecutive OVC game from Mar. 16 to a loss on Apr. 29. The 17-straight league wins tied the all-time mark held by the 2001 Eastern Illinois team.

This season, Tech finished the OVC campaign with a mark of 27-3, boasting the most league wins in conference history.

With its victory against Eastern Kentucky May 11, the Golden Eagles clinched their second-straight and 10th overall OVC regular season championship. Tech has now won titles in 1949, 1955, 1956, 1970, 1988, 1997, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2018.

The Golden Eagles ended the regular season having won 11 consecutive weekend series and 13 of 14 on the year. Tech has broken out the brooms to the tune of a whopping seven series sweeps this season, including six straight during the team's winning streak. The purple and gold won all 10 OVC series and finished a perfect 11-0 in midweek contests.

After dropping two of its first three games on the road this season, Tech won 20 consecutive contests away from Cookeville over a 74-day span. The Golden Eagles boast the nation's best road record at 22-3.

RECORDS WATCH
The 2018 Tech squad has been completely rewriting the program's record books, having already set new single-season standards for runs scored, hits, extra-base hits, total bases, home runs, RBI, walks, saves, wins and consecutive wins.

The Golden Eagles are on pace to break the team's single-season records for batting average, slugging percentage, innings pitched and shutouts.

This season, Tech has set single-game records for hits (27 vs. Illinois State, 2/24), home runs (11 vs. Illinois State, 2/24), combined runs (47 vs. Illinois State, 2/24), combined home runs (15 vs. Illinois State, 2/24). The squad also tied the single-game doubles record with nine against Lipscomb on Feb. 27.

With a three-run blast by Trevor Putzig at the OVC Tournament, the Golden Eagles broke the OVC record for home runs in a single season with its 128th of the year, passing the 2002 Morehead State squad.

Both Strohschein and Putzig tied the program's single-game home run record in the same contest this season. The teammates each blasted three long balls against Illinois State on Feb. 24.

Thanks to a mighty swing to complete a nine-run rally, Chase Chambers tied the program's career grand slam mark in an 18-17 victory at Morehead State. The bases-loaded blast marked the fifth of the senior's career (and second of the year), tying the mark set by Matt Ballard (1989-92).

At Morehead State, Chase Chambers set the program's career record for runs scored (193) and now sits just one RBI from breaking the school's single-season record of 76 set by Brandon Thomasson in 2014.

In Tech's last contest vs. Morehead State, Alex Junior broke the program's single-season runs record, scoring his 78th of the year.

Chase Chambers broke the program record for walks in a single game, drawing five at Eastern Illinois on Apr. 1.

After nearly four seasons, Chase Chambers ranks tied for third in OVC history in career RBI (208) and second in program history, behind only Zach Stephens, who holds the league record of 229.

He also ranks seventh in the league in career runs scored, second in program history in home runs (47) and fourth in school history in hits (260) and walks (124).

After yet another monster season, Kevin Strohschein became the first player in OVC history to record three seasons with at least 60 RBI, three seasons with at least 75 hits and three seasons with at least 55 runs scored. He is also just the fourth player in league history, and second in program history to Zach Stephens, to record three seasons with at least 14 home runs.

Senior hurler Travis Moths became the all-time career wins leader in Tech history with a victory at Morehead State, the 24th of his career.

He broke the program's single-season wins record held by Mark Maberry with his 13th victory of the year against Jacksonville State in the OVC Tournament.

Junior closer Ethan Roberts has become the program's all-time leader in saves, currently totaling 29 in three years, and also became the first Tech pitcher ever to earn saves against both Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the same season. He currently ranks fifth in OVC history in career saves.

Helping Tech clinch its nine-run comeback win at Morehead State, Ethan Roberts collected his 14th save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning, breaking his own program single-season mark for saves.

Photo by Tony Marable