COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After digging itself into a 7-0 hole,
the Tennessee Tech baseball team put together a fierce rally
against Georgia State, cutting the deficit to just one, before
falling 9-7 in Cookeville Tuesday night.
“We showed a lot of guts to battle back like that,” head coach Matt Bragga said. “I’m real proud of our guys, they did a good job tonight, but we just couldn’t pull it out.”
The Golden Eagles got the rally started with a three-run homer from Casanova Donaldson in the fourth inning that scored A.J. Kirby-Jones and Chad Oberacker. The bomb was Donaldson’s first of the season.
Tech added another run in the fifth inning when Oberacker led off the inning with a single, and later scored, making the score 7-4.
Tech put together some more timely hitting in the sixth inning, when Ben Burgess singled to center field after Trice Powers, Alex Henry and Oberacker walked, which scored two runs and pulled tech within 7-6.
The score stayed that way until the top of the ninth, when the Marc Mimeault and Carl Moniz hit back-to-back solo home runs to put the Panthers up 9-6.
The Golden Eagles threatened again in the ninth, when Donaldson hit an RBI double that, scoring Burgess, and leaving runners on second and third and no outs. But Justin Malone struck out three consecutive Tech batters to seal the 9-7 Georgia State win.
“We left a lot of guys on base,” Bragga said. “We couldn’t get the clutch hit when we needed it. That’s one thing that is difficult to simulate in practice, it’s just a matter of going out and getting a hit when the game is on the line, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Donaldson finished with four RBIs on the night, and went 2-for-4 from the plate, and Burgess went 2-for-5 and knocked in three runs. Oberacker went 2-for-3 and scored twice.
Hayes got the loss for the Golden Eagles, as he pitched 3.2 innings and allowed seven earned runs, while fanning three batters. Chason Choate and Kirby-Jones combined to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings for Tech, and Wade Bilbrey pitched the final frame for the Golden Eagles, allowing two runs.
Tech finished with seven runs on 10 hits, and one error, while Georgia State got nine runs on 10 hits, and made no errors.
The Golden Eagles and Panthers will do it again Wednesday, for the second game of the two-game series, beginning at 3 p.m. at Bush Stadium.