COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Michigan State (5-5) clinging to a three-run lead, all looked to be over for the Tennessee Tech baseball team (6-5), until junior Daniel Miles blasted a solo shot over the left field wall.
The home run, which was the first for the third baseman as a Golden Eagle looked to give Tech a surge that might lead to a late rally. Michigan State closer Jeff Kinley would have none of that, however, as he struck out pinch hitter Evan Frazier to end the game and move the Spartans to .500 for the year and leave the Golden Eagles on the short end of a 5-3 decision.
The story of the game was the different approaches to the pitching aspect of the contest. Michigan State starter Chase Rihtarchik, who earned his first win of the season, pitched 6.0 innings, giving up just three hits and two earned runs. The Golden Eagles went a different route, choosing to pitch by committee, using eight different pitchers throughout the contest in a planned attempt to give their pitcher work before the start of OVC play following two consecutive cancelled ball games.
Sophomore Jacob Honea picked up his first loss of the season, giving up two earned runs on two hits in one inning of work. Also picthing in the game were David Hess, Andy Williams, Nick Price, Garrett Baugh, Zane Morton, Stanton Taylor, and Seth Lucio. Each pitched one full inning with Morton taking the sixth and seventh innings.
The Tech batters were limited to just five hits in the contest, with James Abraham, Michael Morris, and Miles all garnering RBI on the night. Zach Stephens earned two more walks on the evening, bringing his season total to 16.
The heart of the order produced all of the damage for the Spartans as their Nos. three, four, and five hitters combined to go 5-for-10 with all four RBI. The fifth run was scored on a wild pitch.
The Golden Eagles will hit the road to open Ohio Valley Conference play this weekend with a three-game set against the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky. Game one is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CST first pitch on Friday, March 8 with games two and three beginning at 1 and noon on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.