COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As the second weekend of play approaches, the Tennessee Tech baseball team (2-2) is looking to rebound from a tough 12-1 road loss to Lipscomb Tuesday evening when it hosts the Niagara Purple Eagles (0-4) in a three-game set beginning Friday at 3 p.m. CST.
SCOUTING THE NIAGARA PURPLE EAGLES
|LAST WEEK'S RESULTS FOR NIAGARA|
||USC Upstate||Spartanburg, S.C.
|Feb. 17||Kentucky||Spartanburg, S.C.||L||20-3|
The weekend series featuring Niagara and Tech marks the first meeting between the two programs. Niagara, which sits just blocks from Niagara Falls, enters the series after a tough tournament appearance in the Courtyard by Marriott Classic in Spartanburg, S.C.
The Purple Eagles fell in all four games, including two big losses to SEC member Kentucky and USC Upstate, where the team gave up 20 runs in each contest.
Tech will look to silence the bat of freshman outfielder Christian Vangeison following a weekend run that saw him garner MAAC Rookie of the Week honors. Vangeison tore up opponent pitching in four games, collecting six hits in 11 at bats for a .545 average. He scored one run and walked twice while leading the team with five RBI in the tournament. The freshman slugged .727 while gathering a .615 on-base percentage.
Making his first career star for the Purple Eagles in Friday's contest will be Kyle Oliver, a freshman right-handed pitcher. On the bump in Saturday's game, Niagara's Jim Fort will make his second start of the year, looking to improve on last weekend's performance where the junior gave up six earned runs in 3.0 innings pitched.
Closing out the series on Sunday will be Anthony Caringi, a junior righty who also struggled in the opening weekend for the Purple Eagles. Carinigi struck out five batters in 4.0 innings of work, allowing three earned runs. He also walked five batters, however, and seven total runs crossed the plate while he was on the hill.
WHAT'S IN THE NEST?
The Golden Eagles return home for a nine-game homestand following a brief stint on the road. Tech made the short journey to Nashville Tuesday night, taking on the Bisons of Lipscomb. For eight innings, the Golden Eagles played solid baseball, holding the Bisons to just two runs and four hits. One inning got away from the Tech pitching staff, however, as Lipscomb scored 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth to hand Tech just its second loss of the season.
Through four games this year, senior James Abraham has paced the Golden Eagle offense, batting .533 with eight hits. The left fielder has driven in two runners while scoring three runs.
Also proving to be a big bat so far for Tech this season has been shortstop Dylan Bosheers. The sophomore has driven in a team-high three RBI in 2013, collecting six hits in 14 at bats while walking twice.
Expected to make his second start of the year on Friday is senior right-hander Tristan Archer. The team's ace in 2012, Archer returns this season as Tech's No. 1 guy and will look to bounce back after a tough season opening round against Big Ten foe Illinois.
Tabbed on the hill for Saturday's showdown is right-hander David Hess. The sophomore recorded four strikeouts in his first action of 2013, pitching 3.1 innings against a potent Illini lineup. The Golden Eagles went on to grab the win with a go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Sunday's probable starter will be sophomore Jacob Honea, who is coming off a fantastic performance in his Golden Eagle debut last Sunday against the Illini. The right-hander pitched 6.0 innings for Tech, scattering four hits and allowing just one earned run. He struck out a team-high seven batters in the contest, including the first three he faced in the game.
Closing things again for the Golden Eagles this weekend will be Seth Lucio. The sophomore righty earned both a save and win last weekend, pitching 2.1 innings against the Illini. He allowed just one hit and no runs while striking out three batters.
Admission for all Golden Eagle home games is free in Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.