COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- The long ball and defense were working for Eastern Illinois Sunday afternoon as the Panthers notched four home runs and turned five double plays in defeating Tennessee Tech, 9-3.
EIU did most of its damage in the final four innings as the Panthers drove in eight runs, seven of which came off of home runs. Ryan Dineen gave the Panthers the lead with a three run shot in the seventh to give EIU a 4-1 lead. TJ McManus, Jacob Reese and Ben Thoma each posted a home run, as well, as they increased EIU's lead.
Despite the final score, the game remained a low scoring affair through six as the teams were tied at 1-1. Tech got the scoring going with an RBI-single from Austin Wulf in the third, while Thoma drove in his first run of the game with an RBI-double in the fourth.
Troy Barton (6-4), who threw 6.1 innings for EIU, earned the win as he gave up three runs on seven hits, while striking out four. TTU starter Seth Lucio got the no-decision as he gave up one run in 4.1 innings, while striking out four. David Hess (2-6) took the loss as gave up six runs in four innings of work.
Darin Worman, Scott Houdek and Adam Clark finished they game for Eastern Illinois as they combined to get the final eight outs, while giving up just three hits and two walks.
The EIU pitchers had a solid defense playing behind them, as the Panthers were able to turn five double plays in the game as they squashed several would-be Tech rallies. TTU grounded into a double play in the second and later hit into a double play in four straight innings from the fifth through the eighth innings, including two instances when it had the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh.
Dineen's three RBIs led the Panthers, while McManus and Thoma each drove in two runs. James Abraham drove in two runs for the Golden Eagles with an RBI-single in the seventh. Abraham also led TTU with three hits.
The Golden Eagles continue their homestand next weekend as they host a three-game series with Morehead State beginning Friday at 6 p.m.