By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – A valiant effort late proved just not enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Friday evening, as the Golden Eagles dropped a heartbreaker on the road to Jacksonville State, 5-3.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the eighth inning, the Tech lineup went to work. Junior college transfer Jay Meuse led off the frame with a double down the right field line on the first pitch. Second baseman Nathan McMeans reached next on a fielder's choice that resulted in Meuse out at third.
A single to right field off the bat of junior Anthony Carrera resulted in a Jacksonville State pitching change with All-American Kevin Strohschein coming to the plate in a big spot. The new Gamecock hurler would walk the Tech slugger, loading the bases with one out.
Prior to the second out of the frame, McMeans dented home plate on a wild pitch to put Tech on the board. With two outs and runners on second and third, freshman John Dyer took his turn at the dish, looking to play hero. The rookie designated hitter delivered on a 1-2 count, ripping a single to left field to drive in a pair and tie the game at 3-3.
The Gamecocks had an answer in the bottom half of the eighth, using a two-run home run to take a 5-3 lead with just an inning to go. The Golden Eagles managed to load the bases in the ninth, using back-to-back singles from Cody Littlejohn and Gavin Johns to lead off the inning.
After two outs, Carrera drew six-pitch walk to bring up Strohschein with the bases juiced. The senior just missed his chance, grounding out to the shortstop up the middle for the final out of the game.
Strohschein led the Golden Eagle offense, particularly early in the contest, turning in three of the team's first four hits over his first three at bats. He finished with a double and two singles, as well as a walk, in five plate appearances. With his three base knocks on the day, the program's all-time career leader in hits moved into third place on the Ohio Valley Conference's career hits list. He needs just 27 more to pass Jacksonville State's Clayton Daniel for first place in the history of the league.
Dyer notched both Tech RBI in the contest and one of the team's nine hits.
On the mound, senior Andrew O'Dwyer tossed two scoreless frames with a pair of punch outs to kick off the contest. Jacob Cole handled the next three and two thirds frames while allowing just two earned runs with five Ks.
Tech will return to action Saturday evening with game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. CT start.
Photo by Tony Marable