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February 25, 2014

Golden Eagles rally three times for walk-off win over Lipscomb

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Nothing was going to stand in the way of the Tennessee Tech baseball team (8-1) and its eighth win of the season Tuesday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles fought back more than once to land a 10-9, walk-off victory over in-state rival Lipscomb (1-7) at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

The Tech squad used pure determination and a "never give up" mentality to orchestrate not one, but three rallies to send the Bisons home with a gut-wrenching loss. The Golden Eagles also overcame a rough start defensively to turn things around just in time to collect their seventh straight victory.

Lipscomb jumped on the scoreboard first, grabbing an unearned run off a Tech error in the top of the second inning. The Bisons added three more runs to the mix in the fourth, as the Golden Eagles made their third error of the contest.

And then the Tech offense finally started firing on all cylinders. Senior slugger Zach Stephens led off the bottom half of the fourth with a six-pitch walk, followed right after by a base hit to left center field by third baseman Daniel Miles. A four-pitch free pass to Brandon Thomasson loaded the bases with no outs as things began to get interesting.

Junior Dylan Bosheers knocked a single to center field, driving in a run and chasing the Bisons' starting pitcher from the game. Designated hitter Jordan Hopkins delivered on the next pitch, flaring a base knock to center field and scoring a second run for the Golden Eagles.

Still rolling, left fielder David Allen stayed disciplined, garnering four straight out of the zone to drive in Tech's third run of the frame. Senior catcher Jordan Parris wrapped up the scoring in the fourth, driving a ball deep to left center field for a sacrifice fly and the tying RBI.

The Bisons jumped back out on top in the top of the fifth, gathering four more runs on five hits, including their first of two home runs on the day.

Once again, the Golden Eagles would not be silenced. In the bottom half, Miles drew a lead-off walk to set up Thomasson for a show. The senior right fielder hammered his fourth long ball of the season to left center field, cutting the Lipscomb lead in half and giving the Tech squad new life.

Two batters later, Hopkins earned a free pass to first and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Allen promptly followed with a base hit up the middle, driving in Hopkins to make it a one-run game. After advancing to second base on balk, Allen made the trip to home plate off a single through the left side by Parris.

The Lipscomb squad grabbed one more lead, popping a dinger in the top of the sixth to go up 9-8. The Bisons looked for sure to be on their way to victory after stalling the Tech attack in the sixth and seventh innings, but the Golden Eagles weren't to be denied.

In the bottom of the eighth with runners on second and third, the Golden Eagles rallied one more time. Bosheers took a 2-2 pitch deep to right field for a sac fly, allowing pinch-runner Hunter Hudson to score the tying run.

Tech finished the job in the bottom of the ninth beginning with a lead-off walk by Allen. A sac bunt by Parris moved the junior to second base and put the Golden Eagles in great position to finish the rally. Second baseman Zach Zarzour just missed driving in the winning run, lacing a line drive to center field that hung just long enough to force Allen to wait to see if the Lipscomb defender would make a diving catch. The ball dropped for a base hit and Zarzour advanced to second base on the Bisons' attempt to throw out Allen at third.

An intentional walk of center fielder Jake Rowland loaded the bases with just one out. Enter Connor Goodspeed, a junior outfielder who pinch hit in the situation and worked a 2-1 count. Goodspeed then blasted a long fly ball to right field, using a sac fly to drive in the winning run and send the Golden Eagles on to a walk-off win.

The offensive workload was passed around the entire lineup with Zarzour leading the way with a 4-for-4 performance at the dish. Four Tech players recorded multi-RBI games, as Thomasson, Bosheers, Allen, and Parris all drove in two runs each.

On the mound, junior Seth Lucio picked up his first win of the season, tossing 1.2 inning of relief while striking out two batters and allowing no hits or walks.

This weekend's return to the diamond will feature a visit from Big Ten member Northwestern, as the Golden Eagles will host the Wildcats in a three-game series beginning Friday with a 3 p.m. CT first-pitch.