April 3, 2010

Jax State scores two in bottom of ninth to upend Golden Eagles, sweep series

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Tennessee Tech got out of a world class jam in the bottom of the eighth holding onto a one-run lead, but the Golden Eagles couldn't repeat the feat in the ninth as Jacksonville State rallied to score two runs to capture an 8-7 victory and sweep the three-game OVC series.

Tech's two pitchers, starter Tristan Archer and reliever Stephen Pryor, combined for 15 strikeouts in the contest including all nine outs recorded by Pryor.

The Gamecocks (16-12/5-1 OVC) battled back from a 7-3 deficit after the Golden Eagles had scored twice in the fifth for their largest lead of the series. JSU scored two in the fifth and one in the sixth to pull within one run, 7-6.

The Golden Eagles, who fell to 11-17 overall and 0-3 in league play, got clutch pitching from Stephen Pryor in the eighth inning, stranding two runners in scoring position as the junior reliever struck out Todd Cunningham with a called third strike.

In the ninth, Bert Smith walked and stole second to start the inning but Pryor struck out the next two batters to put JSU down to its final out. Kyle Bluestein reached on an infield single to third to advance Smith to third and moved to second on a catcher’s indifference.

Daniel Adamson reached on an infield single to short that scored Smith from third to tie the game, and Bluestein crossed the plate with the unearned game-winning run after the throw to first got away.

The Gamecocks held an early 3-1 lead after scoring one in the first and two in the third. Andrew Edge delivered an RBI double in the first. Edge got his second RBI on a single up the middle in the third and Sam Eberle was credited with an RBI on a ground out in the third.

Tech's first run in the top of the inning came on an RBI double by junior A.J. Kirby-Jones. It scored Austin Wulf, who reached on a fielder's choice after Frankie Beech got things started with a single to center.

Tech scored four in the fourth and two in the fifth to take a 7-3 lead.

Chad Oberacker highlighted TTU’s four-run third with a three-run home run (photo above) to give the Golden Eagles a 5-3 lead. With two outs, Zephan Guyear and Chad Hayes singled, followed by an RBI single from Beech to make it a 3-2 contest. Oberacker's second home run of the season brought home Hayes and Beech ahead of him.

In the fifth, Tate McMillan walked and Seth Edwards doubled to right center. A groundout by Ben Burgess scored McMillan with the first run, and Guyear's grounder to short allowed Edwards to score.

The Gamecocks chipped away at the deficit with two runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth. Bluestein belted his fourth home run of the season in the fifth and Cunningham’s RBI double in the sixth trimmed the lead to 7-6.

Bill Henke (2-0) worked a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to earn the win. JSU starter Austin Lucas pitched four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. Daniel Watts gave up two runs on two hits with three strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of work. Tanner Freshour and Todd Hornsby each worked a third of an inning before giving way to Henke.

Pryor (2-2) was saddled with the loss in relief. He entered the game with two outs in the sixth and struck out all nine outs he recorded. He worked two scoreless innings and had two strikeouts in the ninth before giving up two runs on two hits.

Golden Eagle starter Tristan Archer threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The Golden Eagles will play Tuesday night at Lipscomb at 6 p.m., then host the Bisons Wednesday at 6 p.m. Tech wraps up next week with a three-game OVC series at Southeast Missouri State.