COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Neither a game cancellation nor frigid weather can stop the red hot Tennessee Tech baseball team (19-6, 8-1), winners of 12 consecutive games after eeking out a 1-0 shutout over Maryville (Tenn.) Tuesday afternoon. The win put the Golden Eagles into sole possession of the longest active winning streak in the nation.
Despite having their scheduled game at the University of Tennessee cancelled to due to poor field conditions, and forced to deal with below freezing weather and snow flurries, the Golden Eagles put together an impromtu contest against the Scots of Maryville (Tenn.) College (12-15, 7-11).
In all winning streaks, there's always a game or two that just don't always go the way one might want. The key is to dig deep and fight through the adversity to come out on top. That's exactly what the Golden Eagles did Tuesday afternoon, grinding out the tough 1-0 win over the Scots. Tech hit the ball hard, picking up seven base hits from five different players. The Maryville defense was excellent, however, turning four double plays, the most the Golden Eagles have hit into this season.
Senior right fielder Michael Morris was the hero for the Tech squad, driving in the game's lone run with an RBI double off the right center field fence in the bottom of the fifth. He drove in Zephan Guyear, who had singled in the previous at-bat. It was one of Morris' three hits in three at-bats. The senior also swiped a bag in the contest, stealing second base in the third inning.
The Scots were able to pick up five hits in the contest, including two from shortstop Nick Dean. The Golden Eagle pitching staff wasn't about to let the game slip from its grasp, however, shutting the door on every scoring chance the Scots put together and collecting its second combined shutout of the season.
Earning his third win of the year was right hander Garrett Baugh. The junior tossed six innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out a game-high five batters. Four other Tech pitchers joined in on the shutout, with Ross Spurgeon coming in the top of the seventh and gathering the first two outs. He allowed two hits while setting down one batter on strikes.
Sophomore David Hess relieved Spurgeon, gathering the final out of the inning in just three pitches. In the eighth, junior Stanton Taylor joined in on the fun, pitching a hitless inning with a strikeout to set up sophomore closer Seth Lucio for a save attempt. The right hander did not miss a beat, throwing nine pitches to get three quick outs, including a strikeout.
Lucio picked up his fifth save of the season, tying him for second all-time at Tech in saves in a season. The pitching effort also gave the Golden Eagles the best start in program history, eclipsing the previous best of 18-6-1 by the 1982 team. Tech is off to its best start to a conference season as well, going 8-1 in its first nine games.
The 12-game winning streak is the second longest in school history, just two shy of the 1955 team which started its season 14-0.
The streak comes off the backbone of great hitting and pitching, areas that the Golden Eagles have been so good in that they rank nationally in several categories including: second in strikeouts per nine innings, tied for second in home runs, 12th in slugging percentage, 24th in runs scored, 24th in scoring, 25th in doubles, and 30th in on-base percentage.
The Golden Eagles will look to extend the streak even further this weekend with a three-game series against Ohio Valley Conference foe SIU Edwardsville. Tech will host the Cougars beginning at 6 p.m. CDT on Thursday. The series will continue with another 6 p.m contest on Friday and wrap up with a 2 p.m. tilt on Saturday.
Admission is free. The games Thursday and Friday are scheduled to be streamed live by the Golden Eagle Sports Network on the OVC Digital Network.