By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
RALEIGH, N.C. – With one swing of the bat, history was made twice in Raleigh, N.C. Tuesday night, as All-American Kevin Strohschein cemented his place among the best to ever play in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The senior was one of a few bright spots on the day as the Tennessee Tech baseball team took an early lead, but fell late on the road to No. 13 nationally ranked NC State, 10-6 at Doak Field.
Shortstop Hunter Higdon led off the game by drawing a four-pitch walk, setting up Strohschein for his latest date with destiny. The center fielder worked a full count before blasting a two-run shot to left field and clearing the wall for his 10th home run of the season.
The round-tripper helped Strohschein break not one, but two OVC career records. It represented his 331st career base hit, breaking the previous record held by Jacksonville State's Clayton Daniel. He also passed former Tennessee Tech All-American Zach Stephens for the most career RBI by an OVC player, recording his 229th and 230th with the bomb.
Strohschein joined Stephens as the Golden Eagles ever to post four double-digit home run campaigns on the night as well. He currently trails the former Tech first baseman by just five long balls for the all-time conference lead.
The Wolfpack scored once in the bottom of the second, cutting the Tech lead in half, but another veteran slugger took his turn with the bat in the third. Following a four-pitch free pass to freshman John Dyer, junior Anthony Carrera smashed a laser to right field for his 11th dinger of the season and a 4-1 TTU lead.
NC State tied things up in the third, but Tech had one more answer for one of the best teams in the nation. In the top of the fifth, Dyer led things off with a single up the middle and was followed by a double down the right field line by Carrera.
Two batters later, junior Gavin Johns delivered the clutch swing, lacing a single to left center field to drive in two and retake the lead for the Golden Eagles at 6-4.
Three-run innings in the seventh and eighth flipped the script and put the home team back in control late in the contest. The Wolfpack then held on the rest of the way, earning a 10-6 victory in the first ever match-up between the two programs.
The Golden Eagles will stay out east for another Atlantic Coast Conference match-up Wednesday evening, visiting Clemson in a 5:00 p.m. CT tilt in Clemson, S.C.
Photo by Tony Marable