Frazier's, Stephens' late game heroics lead Tech to walk-off win over Murray State
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - It was an emotional day for the Tennessee Tech baseball team, as the Golden Eagles (32-12, 19-5) used late home runs from Evan Frazier, Zach Stephens, and Daniel Miles to rally from a five-run deficit to take down Murray State (17-26, 6-15), 10-6, in 10 innings. Great defense was provided throughout the contest, as each side made several spectacular plays to save runs and give the fans an unforgettable show.
Just days after learning of the passing of his aunt, Frazier honored her in the best way he knew how, crushing a walk-off grand slam to right center field to lead Tech to an Ohio Valley Conference series sweep of the rival Thoroughbreds.
Trailing 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Golden Eagles looked sure to be on their way to their first loss in nearly a week when senior Austin Wulf started a remarkable comeback performance for Tech. Wulf led-off the inning with base hit to left field. Stephens gave the Golden Eagles life with the next at-bat, hammering a two-run shot over the Quillen Field sign in left field to bring his team within three runs. Two batters later, Miles followed suit with a solo dinger to left field to make the score: MUR 6, TTU 4.
Murray State finished the inning without any more damage, but the Golden Eagles had taken all the momentum and used it once again in the bottom of the ninth.
The Thoroughbreds recorded two quick outs and looked sure to finally get a win in OVC play, having lost its previous 11 league games. Tech had different plans as Wulf showed the ice in his veins with an 0-2, two-out base hit to keep hope alive for the Golden Eagles and set Stephens up for another shot against Murray State pitcher Brock Downey (0-4). The junior slugger delivered, drilling a two-run liner over the right field wall to tie the game at 6-6.
Headed to extras, Murray State made three quick outs in the top of the 10th inning to give Tech a chance to finish its incredible comeback.
Miles led-off the inning with a fly ball hit to shallow center field. Seeing that second base was uncovered, the third baseman made a great heads-up play, going for two the entire way and just beating a throw to second. Dylan Bosheers followed with a great at-bat, fighting off three foul balls to eventually draw a walk and give Tech two base runners. Local Cookeville product Tevis Sherfield immediately put down a sacrifice bunt, allowing both Miles and Bosheers to advance into scoring position with just one out.
After intentionally walking James Abraham, the Thoroughbreds made an interesting defensive change, bringing in their center fielder as an extra infielder on the left side. With the change made, Frazier stepped to the plate and worked a full count. The senior catcher then made perhaps the greatest play of his four-year career, crushing a walk-off grand slam to right center field to complete the Golden Eagle rally.
Murray State first baseman Mike Kozlowski had a great day from the plate, going 4-for-4 with a run scored. Noah Zipko and Rick Linton each recorded two hits and two RBI each to pace the Thoroughbreds.
Several Golden Eagles had special days at the plate. Stephens collected five hits in five at-bats, driving in four runs off of two home runs. Sherfield went 3-for-3 after entering the game in the third inning as a defensive sub. Frazier grabbed the biggest hit of the game, finishing 1-for-2 with a home run, four RBI, and one hit-by-pitch. Miles put up four hits in five at-bats, scoring two runs. Wulf finished with two hits and two runs scored.
David Hess (5-2) earned his fifth win of the season, pitching 3.2 innings of relief. The sophomore gave up just three hits and one earned run while striking out three Murray State batters.
The Golden Eagles head into their bye week in OVC play with a league-best 19-5 record. Tech will return to the diamond for a home contest on Wednesday, May 1 against East Tennessee State. The 6 p.m. CDT contest will give the Golden Eagles a chance to avenge their 3-0 loss to the Bucs earlier this season. Tech will then hit the road for a two-game road series at Western Carolina on Friday and Saturday.