By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team extended its winning streak to eight straight games Friday afternoon, defeating in-state rival Austin Peay in Ohio Valley Conference play not once, but twice in doubleheader action at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
The Golden Eagles (17-5, 7-1) used two different approaches in clinching its third OVC series of the season, winning a 4-0 pitcher's duel over the Govs (14-10, 5-3) in game one and a 15-12 race to the finish line in game two.
Senior ace Travis Moths put together his best performance of the season in the first game of the double dipper, tossing seven shutout innings while holding the Govs to just three hits and two walks. The right-hander also struck out nine batters in the contest, earning him his league-leading fifth victory of the season.
Moths out-dueled Austin Peay ace Michael Costanzo, who finished with six innings, five hits allowed, one earned run and seven strikeouts.
Providing the offense in game one was senior Chase Chambers, whose leadoff, solo home run in the fourth inning proved to be the game-winner. He added some very helpful insurance to the Tech effort in the seventh frame, smacking a towering, three-run double to left field. He finished the game 3-for-4 with all four Tech RBI.
Ethan Roberts closed the final two innings, striking out four batters and gathering the other two outs on a double play in the eighth.
It was the offense that shined in game two, with the Golden Eagles turning a 1-0 deficit in the first into a quick, 2-1 lead off the bat of junior Kevin Strohschein. The designated hitter hammered a two-run bomb to left field as part of a three-RBI performance.
Tech made it a 5-2 lead with a two-run dinger off the bat of John Ham, but the Govs tied things up in the top of the fifth with a three-run homer of their own. The Golden Eagles answered quickly, scoring a pair of unearned runs in the fifth that provided the lead for good.
In the sixth, the Tech offense put the game away with seven runs and then held on for the 15-12 victory while holding off a late rally by Austin Peay. Redshirt freshman Tyler Sylvester earned his first career save after covering the final frame without allowing a hit while Colton Provey took home his second win of the year.
Ham drove in three runs in the game, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk. Senior David Garza gathered two hits to drive in three runs and fellow senior Trevor Putzig posted multiple RBI with a 2-for-4 performance.
The Golden Eagles and Govs will attempt to play the series finale Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT, but will make a decision on game time Saturday morning with inclement weather, including heavy rain and potential storms, expected in the area throughout the day. Should the contest not be able to take place Saturday, it will then be scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start on Sunday.
Photo by Jim Dillon