April 9, 2011

Keep ‘em coming; Tech looks to stretch two-game win streak

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Having come away with wins in both mid-week games this week, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle baseball program will look to keep their two-game win streak alive as they host their second conference rival of the season, the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri.

Saturday will feature a double-header showdown between the two rivals, with game one set for 1 p.m. and game two to follow immediately afterwards. Sunday will feature the series finale, again at 1 p.m.

Tech earned back-to-back wins to kick-start week eight of the season, pulling through over Lipscomb on Tuesday 6-5, and rolling over Alabama A&M in a 12-0 shutout the following day. With a current record of 11-16 (1-2 in the conference), Tech will look to climb in OVC rankings from their current spot in the seven-hold.

Sophomore Evan Frazier has been the fuel for Tech over the past few weeks; he leads the Golden Eagles with an average of .373  (25-67) and has logged 15 RBI on the year. Power hitter Zach Stephens holds the team-high in RBI with 30, as he is slugging .607 on the season and maintains a .339 average at the plate.

Selected to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference pre-season poll, earning just one more vote than the Golden Eagles, SEMO is currently living up the pre-season predictions, maintaining a 16-12 overall record and a 3-2 OVC stand.

The Redhawks will come to Cookeville having won three of their past four contests, including two wins over conference opponent Eastern Kentucky, and their most recent victory over Arkansas State, 8-5, on the road in Tuesday's mid-week, non-con match-up.

Last season, Tech found their momentum against SEMO, dropping the first two games of the series in Cape Girardeau to go 0-5 in conference play, before putting up an eight-run eighth inning to snag the win in the final game. The Golden Eagles won 10 straight from that point on en route to their final 14-6 conference stand in 2010.

Over the life of the series, SEMO has the edge though, having won 38 of 56 games over the Golden Eagles. They return 26 from last years roster, including Taylor Heon, who was injured for the majority of the 2010 season but currently leads the Redhawks with a batting average of .368, and Michael Adamson, who has a brought in a team-high 22 RBI for SEMO, notching 33 hits in 114 at-bats for a .342 mark.

TTU will throw Tristan Archer and Matthew Shepherd, in that order, in Saturday's games. Archer is currently 3-3 on the season and will be making his 10th start. In 38.2 innings of work, he's struck out 31 and walked only eight. Shepherd leads the Golden Eagles in innings pitching with 39.1, having struck out 36 and allowing 18 earned runs in 40 hits for an ERA of 4.12. Chad Oberacker will take the hill on Sunday to close out the series for Tech, having notched 29 Ks on the season in 30 innings pitched, accumulating a 4.50 ERA and an 0-2 record in seven starts, 11 overall appearances.

The pitching rotation for Southeast Missouri has still yet to be determined.

Tennessee Tech will also be hosting Faith Day on both Saturday and Sunday of this weekend, which presents the first 300 fans to arrive at the games with church bulletins a free hot dog from the TTU concession stand.

Fans who won't be able to make it out to Bush Stadium for this weekend's series can follow the LiveStats here.