STATESBORO, Ga. – It was a slugfest at JI Clements Stadium
Saturday night, but the Tennessee Tech baseball team couldn’t
survive a seven-run eighth inning from Georgia Southern as the
Golden Eagles fell 16-9 in the second game of a three-game series.
Both teams are now 1-1 on the season, with the rubber-match of the
season-opening series to be played Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Tech got its nine runs on 14 hits, and committed three errors, while Georgia Southern used 15 hits to get its 16 runs, and committed four errors.
Chad Oberacker, A.J. Kirby-Jones, Tate McMillan and Chad Hayes all had multi-hit games for the Golden Eagles. Oberacker went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Kirby-Jones went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Hayes went 2-for-3 at the plate and batted in two runs. McMillan finished 2-for-4 and scored a run.
With two outs in a scoreless game in the second, a Tech throwing error kept the inning alive and proved to be costly. GSU would tally four runs before the Golden Eagles could get out of the inning, to take a 4-0 lead. The teams each scored a run in the third inning to give GSU a 5-1 advantage heading into the fourth.
Facing a four-run deficit, Tech’s bats woke up in a big way in the fourth inning. McMillan led off the inning with a single through the right side, which was followed by a double to right center from Devin Rivers that advanced McMillan to third. With one out, Hayes Doubled to right, scoring McMillan. Frankie Beech then reached on an error which scored Hayes, and Oberacker hit an infield single. Kirby-Jones was given an intentional walk with two outs, which proved to haunt GSU as Ben Burgess stepped up with a two-RBI single that ended up scoring three runs after GSU’s second error of the frame. When the inning was all said and done Tech scored six runs on five hits with the aid of two errors, and the Golden Eagles sent 11 batters to the plate and took a 7-5 lead.
GSU would score a pair of runs in bottom half of the inning to tie the game at seven. Tech would pull ahead 8-7 in the top of the fifth but again GSU would tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Headed into the eighth inning the game was tied 9-9, but GSU had one final push left in it. The Eagles would ding Tech’s Chason Choate for seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to provide the game’s final margin.
Sophomore Matthew Shepherd got the start on the mound for the Golden Eagles, and went 3.1 innings. He allowed eight hits and seven runs, however only two of those runs were earned. Stephen Pryor entered as relief in the fourth inning and went 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Chason Choate gave up seven runs on four hits in 1.2 innings pitched and Wade Bilbrey threw a third of an inning without allowing a hit.
The two teams will play the deciding game of the three game series on Sunday at 12:30 central. Tech will be in Cookeville for its home opener against Cleveland State on Feb. 26 in the first game of a three-game weekend series.