COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech baseball team is flying high entering this weekend's Ohio Valley Conference match-up with Jacksonville State, coming off the biggest win in program history after defeating No. 2 Vanderbilt in Nashville Tuesday evening.
Tech won't tread lightly in Jacksonville, however, as it takes one of the league's best. The Gamecocks (20-16, 12-3) currently stand just 1.5 games back of the Golden Eagles (27-10, 15-3) and .033 percentage points as well.
The series is just part of a weekend that could have serious implications on the OVC regular season championship as the top-ranked Belmont Bruins head to fourth place Austin Peay as well. With the top four teams in the league facing off, there is potential for a large amount of movement among the top of the conference.
Pitching for the Golden Eagles in Friday's 6:30 p.m. CDT contest will be senior ace Tristan Archer (6-2). He will face off against Jax State's Casey Antley (4-3). On Saturday, Ross Spurgeon (2-1) will take the hill for Tech, throwing against Gamecock righty Taylor Shields (5-2). Sophomore Jacob Honea (1-1) will close out the weekend, competing against Adam Polk (2-5)
SCOUTING THE JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS
LAST FIVE GAMES FOR
One of the top teams in the OVC, Jax State owns a 20-16 record including a 12-3 mark in league play. The Gamecocks have dropped just five contests at home all season, posting a 10-5 record in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville State boasts a respectable offense, batting .260 in 36 games this season. The team has scored 215 runs, driving in 185 of them. The Gamecocks have recorded 324 hits including 59 doubles, 16 triples, and 18 home runs.
A look at the top seven offensive weapons for the Gamecocks:
Pitching has been a relative strength for the Gamecocks this year, as the team owns a 4.58 ERA through 318 innings of work. Jax State has struck out 206 batters, walking 114 while surrendering 366 hits, 210 runs, and 162 earned runs. Their opponents are batting .291.
A look at this weekend's likely starters for Jacksonville State:
CATCHING UP WITH TECH
LAST FIVE GAMES FOR
|April 9||Away||Middle Tennessee||L||12-9|
|April 12||Home||Eastern Illinois*||W||20-5|
|April 13||Home||Eastern Illinois*||W||5-2|
|April 14||Home||Eastern Illinois*||W||6-5|
|April 16||Away||No. 2 Vanderbilt||W||10-9|
Just several days off its monumental win over Vanderbilt, Tennessee Tech finds itself with a 27-10 overall record and a 15-3 mark in OVC games heading into a crucial weekend of league play. The Golden Eagles have won their last four games and six of their last seven. The team has yet to drop a series this season, winning the first 10 to begin the year.
Tech has proved it can hit with the best of them, going toe-for-toe with Vanderbilt on Tuesday and ranking among the league's best in nearly ever offensive category. The Golden Eagles have collected 376 hits in 37 games this year, recording an average of .299 (tops in the OVC) and driving in a league-leading 247 runs. Tech has scored 262 runs this season (first) while hammering 35 dingers (first) to help put up a .463 slugging percentage (first) and .405 on-base percentage (second).
A look at the top seven offensive weapons for the Golden Eagles:
The pitching staff for the Golden Eagles has been key to a remarkable start this season, owning a 4.65 ERA over 323 innings. With 326 strikeouts, the Tech pitchers rank among the nation's leaders. The team has given up just 149 walks, 196 runs, 167 earned runs, and 348 hits. Opponents are hitting just .277 against Tech pitching this season.
A look at this weekend's likely starters for Tennessee Tech: