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March 11, 2013

Tech welcomes Northern Kentucky for first-ever meeting


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Can they make it five in a row? That's the question facing the Tennessee Tech baseball team (8-6, 2-1) as it returns home for a two-game set against Northern Kentucky (2-12, 0-0), Tuesday and Wednesday. The Golden Eagles have opened the season winning all four series against their opponents, taking a minimum of two games from each team.

You could almost call the Golden Eagles' current stretch of the schedule 'Kentucky Madness' as Tech will play the second of three straigth teams from the Bluegrass State. That makes eight straight contests against opponents from the commonwealth to the north as Tech will also host Ohio Valley Conference foe Morehead State this weekend after visiting Eastern Kentucky last weekend.

This will mark the first meeting between Tennessee Tech and Northern Kentucky on the diamond. This week's first match-up between the Norse and Golden Eagles is scheduled for Tuesday evening with a 6 p.m. CST first pitch. The series will conclude with a 3 p.m. contest on Wednesday.


SCOUTING THE NORTHERN KENTUCKY NORSE

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS FOR
NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Date Location Opponent Result Score
March 9
Florence, Ky.
Marshall
L 7-1
March 9 Florence, Ky. Marshall L (7) 6-3
March 10 Highland Heights, Ky. Marshall L 9-0
March 10 Highland Heights, Ky. Marshall L 2-1

Northern Kentucky enters the series against the Golden Eagles coming off a four-loss weekend, dropping four straight to Marshall in two days. The Norse own a 2-12 record on the year, however, that mark is a tad deceiving. NKU has lost seven games this season by two runs or less, not letting opponents distance themselves.

Brad Clement leads the charge for the Norse on offense, batting .373 in 14 contests. He has recorded 19 hits while driving in eight runners and scoring seven. He has also walked eight times and owns a .459 on-base percentage.

The pitching staff for the Norse has struggled to start the 2013 campaign, combining for a 6.39 ERA over 119.2 innings. They have recorded 78 strikeouts in that span while walking 61 and giving up 85 earned runs.

Making his first start of the season will be Aric Harris, a right-handed pitcher who owns a 4.16 ERA in four relief appearances. He has pitched 4.1 innings this season, giving up five hits and two earned runs while striking out four.

The Norse will tab southpaw Cody Cooper as their game two starter, hoping he will provide better results than his only other start of the season. Cooper owns an 8.10 ERA while pitching 10 innings. He has surrendered nine runs this year and walked six while striking out three.


CATCHING UP WITH TECH

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS FOR
THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Date Location Opponent Result Score
March 6
Cookeville, Tenn.
Michigan State
L 5-3
March 8
Richmond, Ky.
Eastern Kentucky
W
5-1
March 9
Richmond, Ky.
Eastern Kentucky
L
18-7
March 10 Richmond, Ky. Eastern Kentucky
W
5-4

The Golden Eagles return home from their first road trip of the season, a 2-1 series win over Eastern Kentucky in the Ohio Valley Conference's opening weekend. Tech picked up two key victories over the Colonels, inlcuding a thrilling 5-4 win in the series finale on Sunday.

Leading the Golden Eagles with his bat this season has been designated hitter Brandon Thomasson. He owns a team-best .327 average and is tied for the league lead in RBI with 17. His five home runs are tops in the OVC, as are his 42 total bases and .764 slugging percentage.

Junior slugger Zach Stephens is coming off a hot weekend as the Golden Eagle first baseman raised his batting average over 50 points to .319 with a 6-for-12 performance against EKU. He drove in four runs in the series while walking twice to add to his OVC-leading 18 walks. He owns a .507 on-base percentage this season as well as 12 RBI.

The Tech pitching staff has been lights out in the strikeout department, sitting down nearly a batter per inning with 120 Ks in 124 innings.

On the bump for the Golden Eagles in Tuesday's contest will be righty Garrett Baugh. The junior, who sits at 1-1 on the year, will make his first start and look to keep the solid start for Tech going. Wednesday's starter is still yet to be determined.