By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Yet another fantastic display on the mound resulted in victory for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Friday evening, as the Golden Eagles (12-5, 3-1) out-dueled SIUE (5-10, 1-3) in Ohio Valley Conference play, 4-1.
With one of the nation's top offenses facing off a historically strong pitching staff, it was the Tech hurlers that shined brightest on the day, led by senior starter Travis Moths. The right-hander earned his league-leading fourth victory of the season after twirling the Golden Eagle pitching staff's third consecutive gem.
Moths tossed six innings while limiting the Cougars to just five base runners and a single earned run. The Tech veteran struck out eight batters in the affair while walking just two and scattering three hits.
With Moths at his pitch count limit, head coach Matt Bragga turned to junior closer Ethan Roberts to finish things off. The Sparta native did just that, facing nine and sitting nine down in order to cover the final three innings and earn his fourth save of the year. He punched out three while needing just 31 pitches to finish off the team's three-hitter.
The pitching continued an impressive run by the Golden Eagle arms that began on Tuesday with an 8-0 shutout of the Big 12's West Virginia. Tech then dominated the Mountaineers again on Wednesday in a 9-1 victory. In that span, the Tech staff has held opponents to a meager .110 batting average, 10 hits, six walks and two runs while striking out 22.
While the Tech offense was held without an extra-base hit for the first time all season, the lineup still put the pressure on early and often, totaling 11 singles and seven walks.
Junior second baseman John Ham set the pace in the second, leading off the frame with a base knock to left field. Right fielder Nick Osborne drove him in later in the inning with a hit to right field, providing a 1-0 lead for the visitors.
The Golden Eagles plated two more in the third as senior first baseman Chase Chambers grounded out to second base to drive in the eventual winning run from third. Fellow senior David Garza laid down a great sacrifice bunt that brought in the second score of the frame for a 3-0 advantage.
SIUE managed a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the third off the bat of Mario Tursi, but the Golden Eagles earned that run right back in the fourth with an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of junior Kevin Strohschein.
Tech and SIUE will meet again on Saturday for game two of the series. First pitch is slated for a 1 p.m. CT start at Simmons Complex in Edwardsville, Ill.
Photo by Tony Marable