COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- A five-run sixth inning for Eastern Illinois proved to be the deciding factor Saturday afternoon as the Panthers handed Tennessee Tech a 9-8 loss in game two of their three-game series.
The Golden Eagles batters combined for eight hits, seven walks, and seven hit batters, but they were only able to get eight runs across the plate compared to EIU's nine runs on 14 hits.. Chad Hayes and Dylan Bosheers recorded the big hits for Tech as Hayes notched a three-run triple in the fifth inning, while Bosheers drove in two with an RBI-single in the eighth.
Despite the score, both offenses remained quiet at the plate as TTU starter Matthew Shepherd and EIU starter Christian Slazinik each threw three shutout innings to start the game. Each team had at least one base runner in each of the first three innings, but clutch pitching prevented each team from bringing the runners around.
In the fourth, both offense came to life as the Panthers drove in three runs in the top of the inning only to see the Golden Eagles respond with a two-spot in the bottom of the inning. Evan Frazier accounted for one of TTU's RBIs with an RBI-triple.
Tech kept the pressure on in the fifth as Hayes drove in three runs with his RBI-triple, but in the sixth EIU managed to plate five runs on four hits, including a three-run shot for Nick Priessman, to give the Panthers an 8-5 lead.
Eastern Illinois added an additional run in the eighth, which proved to be the game-winner as Tech rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull within one at 9-8. The Panthers shut the door in the ninth to secure the win.
Luke Busher (2-1) earned the win in relief for EIU as he threw .2 innings. Adam Clark earned his third save of the season as he allowed just one run in 1.2 innings, while striking out three.
Shepherd (4-3) took the loss as he gave up six runs in 5.2 innings, while posting three strikeouts. Josh Bryant and Cullen Park finished the game for Tech as Bryant gave up two runs, while Park allowed just one run to cross in 3.1 innings.
Hayes led the Golden Eagles offense with two hits and three RBIs, while Priessman led the Panthers with four RBIs and four hits.
Game three of the series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.