Golden Eagles rally, take down Big Ten foe Illinois, 6-5
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Not even the weather could stop the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles came back two separate times to defeat the Illinois Fighting Illini (1-1-0) of the Big Ten Conference, 6-5. Tech also overcame two five-minute snow delays in the contest, with play stopping due to lack of visibility.
With the Illini leading by one run in the bottom of the fifth, Golden Eagle left fielder James Abraham collected a two-out single between the shortstop and a lunging third baseman. Sophomore shortstop Dylan Bosheers came up clutch for Tech in the second straight contest, ripping a two-out double down the left field line, bringing in Abraham for the tying run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tech struck again with a leadoff double from junior designated hitter Brandon Thomasson. After a sacrifice bunt from junior catcher Jordan Hopkins moved Thomasson to third, junior second baseman Zach Zarzour hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field. Thomasson scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.
Junior right handed pitcher Stanton Taylor came to the hill in the eighth inning and set the side down in order. He threw 12 pitches, 10 of which went for strikes, on his way to two swing-and-miss strikeouts.
A sophomore right hander out of Locust Grove, Ga., Seth Lucio earned the save for the Golden Eagles, forcing Reid Roper to fly out to center field for the final out with the tying run at third. It was the first save of the year for Lucio as well as the first of his career.
Picking up the win for the Golden Eagles was junior right hander Garrett Baugh. Baugh entered the game in relief in the fourth inning in place of starter David Hess. He pitched 3.2 innings in the contest, shutting down the Illini hitting to a tune of no runs and four hits while striking out two.
Tech showed a lot of moxy in the contest, overcoming a 2-0 deficit after the first inning. The Golden Eagles exploded for a four-run third inning, using a lead-off double from catcher Evan Frazier to start the rally. Junior third baseman Daniel Miles collected two RBI in the inning, doubling down the left field line with the bases loaded.
Illinois center fielder Justin Parr collected three RBI in the contest on four hits in five trips to the plate. The Illini stranded 11 runners throughout the contest, despite recording 11 hits in the contest.
Five Golden Eagle players drove in runs in the contest, including Miles (two), Bosheers (one), Austin Wulf (one), Zarzour (one), and Abraham (one). Bosheers finished the contest with two hits for the second consecutive game and leads Tech on the season with three RBI. Wulf also collected two hits in the contest.
The three-game series against the Illini concludes Sunday afternoon in a 1 p.m. tilt at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.