By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was another late, tough loss for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday afternoon, as Central Arkansas rallied to take the series with an 11-5 victory at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
The Bears (17-19) scored once in the eighth inning to tie the contest at 4-4. Then in the ninth, the visitors took advantage of a pair of Golden Eagle errors to strike for seven runs and put the game out of reach.
The Golden Eagles (14-19) kicked the off the game in style, with starter Caleb Morgan striking out the side. The offense took its turn in the bottom of the first, providing an early 3-0 lead behind some clutch hitting.
Shortstop Hunter Higdon led off the frame with a walk. After recording two outs, the Bears plunked junior Anthony Carrera, brining freshman John Dyer to the plate. Falling behind 0-2 after fouling off the first pitches, the third baseman rallied for a 2-2 count. After fouling off one more pitch, the rookie ripped a laser just inside the foul pole down the left field line, clearing the wall for a three-run home run.
In the third, Central Arkansas answered after a Tech error with two outs left the door open. The visitors rallied in the frame to plate three runs and square the contest at 3-3.
Morgan shoved over the next four frames, retiring as many as nine straight Bear batters. He finished the contest with five strikeouts while covering seven frames and allowing just five hits, three unearned runs and one walk.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tech took back control with their own two-out rally. Dyer drew a walk on a full-count approach between strikeouts. Two batters later, second baseman Nathan McMeans ripped a two-out double down the left field line. Dyer turned on the jets and dented home plate for the go-ahead run.
Central Arkansas answered in the eighth, scoring on a ground-out after the leadoff batter reached on a walk and advanced twice on a pair of wild pitches. The Bears then batted around in the ninth, scoring seven runs, including three unearned, to take a commanding 11-4 lead.
Tech looked to mount its own rally in the bottom half, gathering three straight hits to lead off the inning. Jason Hinchman smashed a double to center field and advanced to third after a Carrera single to center field. Dyer laced a single through the left side to drive in a run, but that would be the extent of the Tech offense as the Bears recorded three straight outs to end the game.
The Golden Eagles will end its eight-game home stand on Tuesday, Apr. 16 by hosting Alabama A&M in a 6:00 p.m. CT tilt at Quillen Field.
Photo by Tony Marable