By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - An offensive onslaught and a great pitching performance led the Tennessee Tech baseball team to an impressive 16-1 win over Ohio Valley Conference foe Southeast Missouri Friday evening. The win kept the Golden Eagles in sole possession of first place in the OVC.
The Tennessee Tech record book was rewritten several times on Friday, as both senior ace Tristan Archer and junior slugger Zach Stephens provided great performances to boost their team to an important OVC win late in the regular season.
Archer recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts through seven innings of work while scattering seven hits, allowing just one earned run, and walking none. He earned his eighth win of the year, a season-high for righty, on his way to tying the Tech career-record for wins with 22. Archer also broke the Golden Eagle record for innings pitched in a career, passing Craig Humberd in the first inning. He now sits on top with 310.2 career innings pitched.
Stephens, an OVC co-preseason Player of the Year, clobbered his 12th home run of the season in the top of the first, tying him for the OVC lead with teammate Brandon Thomasson. The solo shot also provided Stephens with his 40th career dinger, making him just the second Golden Eagle to hit the 40-home run mark in program history. A junior from Hixson, Tenn., Stephens sits in second place on the Tech career home run list, just 11 behind former Golden Eagle A.J. Kirby-Jones.
The Golden Eagles used a balanced attack all game to take down the Redhawks, scoring in each of the first three innings to put the game out of reach quickly. Tech took an 8-1 lead into the eighth inning, scoring three eighth and five more in the ninth to finish with a 16-1 victory.
Leading the Tech attack was senior outfielder Michael Morris, who went 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. The middle of the infield was a particular strength in the game for the Golden Eagles as shortstop Dylan Bosheers and second baseman Zach Zarzour both drove in two runs and scored two runs. Zarzour went 3-for-5 as the leadoff man.
Every starter for the Golden Eagles recorded a hit Friday evening, as the offense combined for a season-high 22 hits. Stephens went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and Brandon Thomasson also scored two runs and drove in two runners. Jordan Parris marked the fifth Golden Eagle to record at least two RBI on the night, going 2-for-5 at the plate.
Tech recorded its 20th OVC win of the season with the win, making the 2013 squad the first to hit 20 league wins in program history. They also became just the fourth team in OVC history to record 20 wins in conference play.
The Golden Eagles will play game two against the Redhawks in a 5 p.m. CDT match-up on Saturday. Cookeville native Ross Spurgeon will take the hill for Tech and try to keep the Golden Eagles in sole possession of first place in the OVC regular season championship race.