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February 21, 2014

Golden Eagles claim 11-2 home opening win behind bat of Thomasson

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It didn't take long for the Tennessee Tech baseball team to claim victory in Cookeville as the Golden Eagles (4-1) won their home opener in style Friday afternoon, disposing the NYIT Bears (0-1), 11-2, at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

The Golden Eagles used two huge innings to grab victory over the Bears, striking for four runs in the bottom of the fifth and six more in the eighth.

Providing the spark at the plate was senior Brandon Thomasson, who fell just a single shy of completing the cycle. The right fielder went off with a 3-for-4 day at the dish, garnering a walk while driving in six runs.

NYIT started things off, scoring a run in the top of the second inning off a wild pitch by Tech starter Chris Chism. The junior settled down after the inning allowing just one more run (unearned) the rest of the way while striking out three batters and scattering four hits across six innings.

Tech answered in the bottom half as shortstop Dylan Bosheers squeezed an RBI single through the right side to even things up at 1-1.

The Bears tallied one more run in the contest, retaking the lead in the fourth. With the bases loaded and just one, first baseman Nick Dellasperanza recorded the team's lone RBI, hammering a ball to shortstop that forced Bosheers into a fielder's choice at second base. The run gave NYIT a 2-1 lead heading to the fifth inning.

The deficit would not last long for the Tech squad, however, as the Golden Eagles quickly turned things around in the bottom of the fifth. Leadoff man Zach Zarzour kicked things off by reaching base after being plunked by a pitch. Bosheers followed, drawing a five-pitch walk to bring up Tech slugger Zach Stephens. The senior worked a full count before getting hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Thomasson.

Arguably the hottest hitter in the Golden Eagle lineup, Thomasson took a 2-1 pitch deep to right field, crushing a grand slam to give his team the lead for good. At the end of the fifth, Tech led 5-2.

Both teams cruised over the next two and half innings before the Golden Eagles lit up the scoreboard again, giving the Bears trouble with a bunt drill.

After designated hitter Tyler Brazelton led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, junior David Allen laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the redshirt freshman over. NYIT struggled to field the ball, allowing Allen to reach first safely and Brazelton to advance to third base. Jordan Parris copied Allen, dropping a sac bunt of his own that created problems for the Bears once again. Parris reached on another error while Brazelton scored and Allen advanced to second base.

With still no outs in the inning, Zarzour also attempted a sac bunt, forcing a third error in the inning by NYIT and allowing Parris to advance to third and Allen to score another run for the Golden Eagles.

The Bears recorded an out on the next batter, but walked Stephens to load the bases for third baseman Daniel Miles. The senior drilled a single through the left side, driving in two runs and advancing to second on the throw home. Thomasson continued his hot day in the next at-bat, narrowly missing his second home run of the game with a triple off the top of the right center field wall. He drove in two runs on the play, extending Tech's lead to 11-2.

Chism earned his first career victory after six innings of work. Jeb Scoggins, Ross Spurgeon, and Cain Sloan all pitched in for the final nine outs. Each Golden Eagle threw one inning apiece, combining for four strikeouts and just two hits allowed.

Thomasson finished the day with a double, a triple, and a home run while driving in six and scoring one run himself. Bosheers and Allen both recorded multi-hit games as well, each grabbing two hits in the contest. Zarzour, Stephens, and Allen scored two runs each on the day and Stephens recorded just on at-bat, drawing three walks.

The Golden Eagles will return to action Saturday at noon with the first act of a double header with the Bears. The second contest is set for a 3 p.m. start.