Middle Tennessee rallies, sneaks past Tech, 9-7


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - With a 7-1 lead after two innings of play, the Tennessee Tech baseball team looked well on its way to a win over in-state rival Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders had other plans, however, scoring eight runs over the final six innings to complete the come-from-behind win over the Golden Eagles, 9-7.

Tech jumped out to a quick two-run lead in the contest off a two-run shot from junior Zach Stephens. It marked the first home run of the season for Stephens, who finished one-for-two in the contest, drawing three walks and just missing a second long ball when a towering shot fell in the outfielder's glove at the wall.

Senior James Abraham followed Stephens with a triple off the right field wall. He was driven in with a double from the next batter, right fielder Michael Morris, that hit the gap in right center field. Shortstop Dylan Bosheers singled up the middle to bring Morris in and the Golden Eagles left the first inning with a solid 4-0 start.

After surrendering one run in the top of the second, Tech's offense jumped again, this time with two outs. With catcher Jordan Parris already on first after being hit by a pitch, Stephens and junior Brandon Thomasson, and Abraham all drew walks, bringing in a run. Morris bashed his second double of the game, a laser that just missed leaving the park, hitting the left center field wall near the top. The hit drove in two more runs as Tech finished the second inning with a 7-1 lead.

Middle Tennessee's pitchers took over from there, allowing just three more hits. Aaron Hyder, Jordan Cooper, Garrett Ring, and Paul Mittura combined to shut down the Golden Eagle bats for the rest of the contest, gathering eight strikeouts over the final seven innings.

Cooper picked up his first win of the season for the Blue Raiders, pitching 3.2 innings. Mittura earned his fourth save of the year, retiring two batters in the ninth inning to finalize the comeback for Middle Tennessee.

Making his first career start in the contest was Golden Eagle sophomore Byron Skinner. Skinner pitched 3.1 innings, allowing just two earned runs and four hits along the way. Also making appearances for Tech were Ross Spurgeon, Josh Bryant, Zane Morton, Stanton Taylor, and Andy Williams. Morton was pegged with the loss after gathering his first win of the year on Sunday.

Blue Raider catcher Michael Adkins had a career-day at the plate, going four-for-four with a walk and an RBI.

Morris led the Golden Eagles, collecting three hits in four at-bats. He drove in a season-high three runners and also gathered a walk and scored a run.

The Tech baseball team will return to the diamond for a three-game series against the Bowling Green State Falcons beginning Friday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CST at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.