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Golden Eagles rally to down Lipscomb, 12-9; UT Martin visits this weekend

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A five-run sixth inning helped lift Tennessee Tech to a 12-9 non-conference victory over Lipscomb Tuesday night at Bush Stadium, an entertaining finish to a game overloaded with twists and plot changes.

Evan Frazier and Devin Rivers drove in three runs each while Cassanova Donaldson and Zach Stephens had two RBI apiece for Tech (20-25), which snapped a four-game losing streak. Frazier was on base five times, going 1-for-1 and walking four times.

Ben Burgess (1-0), who took the mound for only the third time this season, got credit for the win while Cullen Park claimed his third save of the season.

Matt Brewer and M.L. Williams had two RBI each for Lipscomb (18-30), and were among the four Bisons to collect two hits apiece. Chris Nunn (2-4), one of five Lipscomb pitchers, was charged with the loss.

The contest featured 21 runs, 21 hits, three lead changes and a five-run inning by each team.

The game turned in the bottom of the sixth when the Golden Eagles logged five runs on just three hits to take an 11-7 lead. Donaldson delivered a bases loaded, two-run single through the right side that put Tech on top, 8-7, and the big blow was a three-run double to center by Frazier two batters later. 

Lipscomb had leads of 5-0 and 7-6 prior to Tech's decisive outburst.

The visitors' big inning came early when the Bisons put five runs on the board on just four hits in the top of the second. A walk, a single and fielder's choice loaded the bases and Brewer followed with a two-run double to left center. After a pair of walks re-loaded the bases, Williams poked a looping single to right that scored two runs, and the final run trotted home on a wild pitch.

Tech was not fazed by the five-run deficit, fighting back to score three in the bottom of the second and adding three more in the third to take a 6-5 lead.

Chad Oberacker and Frazier walked in the second and Rivers singled with one out to plate the first run. Stephens' RBI single to right made it 5-2, and Chad Hayes hit a long sacrifice fly down the right field line into foul territory, trimming the Lipscomb lead to 5-3.

Tech left the bases loaded in the second, but used the long ball in the third to claim its first lead. With two out, Frazier drew a walk and Rivers drove his fifth home run of the season over the opposite field fence in right to knot the score. Stephens made it back-to-back home runs, clubbing his ninth of the year to left field to put the Golden Eagles on top, 6-5.

The Bisons scratched out a tying run in the top of the fifth, and added a solo run in the seventh to slip ahead, 7-6.

In the fifth, Wilson and Brewer both singled and Henry's infield groundout scored the run. In the sixth, Williams led off with a single and stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jake Chism's RBI single up the middle.

After Tech's big inning, the Bisons made it close with two unearned runs in the top of the seventh to make it 11-9. With two outs, Williams walked and Hoelzer singled, and Goodenow reached on an error that scored the first run. Following a walk and a pitching change, Dodd drew a bases loaded walk to force home another run before Chad Hayes nabbed a sharp line drive at shortstop to leave the bases loaded and end the threat. 

Starter Dannie Strable worked just 1.2 innings and Gil Rehwinkel went 1.1 innings in relief, each giving up three runs. Nunn pitched two innings and was charged with four runs in two hits while taking the loss. All five Lipscomb pitchers who saw action gave up at least one run.

Tech started with Justin Alexander lasted 1.1 innings while giving up five runs on two hits. He walked three and struck out one. Jared Dobbs pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk with two strikeouts, before giving way to Jake McWhirter, who threw 1.1 innings.

Burgess, who had thrown just 1.1 innings this season in two relief appearances, entered the game facing a jam in the sixth after the Bisons had taken the 7-6 lead. After walking the first batter he faced to load the bases, the junior from Brentwood coaxed a pop up for the second out and got a strikeout to end the threat. He worked 1.1 innings.

Park took the hill with the Golden Eagles leading 11-8 and the bases loaded. He walked the first batter to force in a run, then put the clamps on Lipscomb by retiring the next seven batters to end the contest.

With the win, the Golden Eagles swept the two-game season series from Lipscomb including a 7-6 win in Nashville a month ago.

Tech stays home this weekend to host a three-game Ohio Valley Conference series against UT Martin, with action beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The games are the final home action of the year for coach Matt Bragga's team, which will recognize six seniors Sunday on Senior Day. Admission is free.