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Golden Eagles split double header with Valparaiso

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech baseball team took a 6-4 decision over Valparaiso in the first game of a double header at Bush Stadium, and erased a seven-run deficit in the second game, before falling 12-8, splitting the first two games of a four-game series with the Crusaders.

In the first of the two seven inning games, senior Evan Webb hit a triple and a double, going 2-for-3 and had three RBIs, as the Golden Eagles rallied to come back after trailing 3-1 in the fourth inning.
Tech (10-4) did most of its damage in the fifth inning of that game. Senior Cory Wright led off the inning with a single, which sparked a rally that saw five runs on five hits in the frame.

Valparaiso (5-9) threatened in the top of the seventh, and had the go-ahead run at the plate with runners on second and third before junior Lee Henry finished off the Crusaders and earned the save.

Sophomore A.J. Kirby-Jones got the start for Tech, and pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs. Kirby-Jones went 0-for-3 from the plate in game one, snapping a five game hit streak.

In the second game, the Golden Eagles found themselves in trouble early giving up two runs in each of the first two innings, and another three in the fourth, falling behind 7-0.

But Tech chipped away, getting two runs back in the bottom of the fourth before exploding for a five-run fifth, tying the game.

In that fifth inning Alex Henry and Chad Oberacker each knocked in a run before Webb crushed a three-run homer, scoring Oberacker and Kirby-Jones to tie the game.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the Crusaders blasted three home runs in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs to take the lead for good.

Ben Burgess was dinged with the loss, after he made his first ever pitching appearance. He went one and two-thirds innings, and allowed three earned runs.

Junior Wade Bilbrey also made his pitching debut, as he tossed a perfect seventh inning for Tech, striking out the first batter he faced.

Webb finished the day 3-for-5 from the plate with six RBIs, and in the two games combined hit a double, triple and a home run. Oberacker finished 4-for-7 with two RBIs.

The Golden Eagles and Crusaders will wrap up their four-game series with a double header Saturday at Bush Stadium, beginning at 1 p.m.