By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A complete game all around from both the offense and defense led the Tennessee Tech baseball team to victory Saturday afternoon as the Golden Eagles won their ninth consecutive game by defeating Northwestern, 12-2, at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
Tech clinched the series over the Wildcats behind the arm of right-handed starter David Hess and the entire starting Golden Eagle lineup, which went off for 18 hits. Hess collected his second win of the year, tossing six innings while allowing just two earned runs and five hits. The junior struck out seven Northwestern batters, his third start of the season with at least seven Ks.
Thomasson and Bosheers each drove in three runs on the day with Thomasson finishing 2-for-4 at the plate and Bosheers delivering on three of his five trips to the plate. Hopkins added two RBI on a 3-for-3 day at the dish and Zarzour kept his hot bat swinging, collecting three more hits in the series. Miles had a great day at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored, an RBI, and two walks.
Northwestern looked sure on its way to a good day at the plate, as the second batter of the game, catcher Scott Heelan, drove a long ball over the right field fence to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead. Designated hitter Jack Livingston collected a hit in the next at-bat, leaving Tech fans maybe a little weary to start the game.
But Hess settled quickly, inducing a groundball and allowing his defense to turn a inning-ending double play. That was essentially all the Wildcats would get the rest of the game as Hess scattered three more hits across the next five innings, allowing just one more run to score. For good measure, he struck out the side to end in the top of the sixth to put an exclamation point on his win.
Tech didn't score in the first inning, but went off over the next four, scoring 11 of its 12 runs in the contest.
Bosheers started things off for the Golden Eagles, drilling a lead-off single up the middle. Two batters later, Hopkins crushed a triple over the center fielder's head, driving in Bosheers to even up the score. Junior left fielder drove him in two pitches later, putting Tech on top for good.
The Golden Eagles tallied two more in the bottom of the third, using a two-out double from Bosheers to grab one and an RBI single from Hopkins to score the other.
The fourth inning was especially big as the Tech squad doubled its output with a four spot. Zarzour led off with a single to right field and was immediately followed by a single to center field by designated hitter Connor Goodspeed. Zach Stephens grounded into a fielder's choice as Northwestern chose to get Goodspeed at second, allowing Zarzour to advance to third.
Senior Daniel Miles took the next pitch through the left side, driving in Zarzour and putting two on base for Thomasson. The slugger looked at one before clobbering a fall off the center field wall for a two-run triple. Bosheers allowed no breath for the Wildcats, smacking the next pitch through the left side to drive in Thomasson and give Tech an 8-1 lead.
Three more runs in the fifth inning extended Tech's advantage to 11-2. Thomasson and Bosheers each picked up RBI and the third run came in on off a Northwestern balk.
The final four innings came and went with little excitement except for a brief moment in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitting for center fielder Jake Rowland, redshirt freshman Hunter Hudson hammered his first career home run over the center field wall, providing the Golden Eagles with its final score of 12-2.
Originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start, the third game of the series has been moved to an 11 a.m. first pitch due to impending weather expected in the area. Tech will go for the series sweep on Sunday, pitting lefty John Gora against Northwestern sophomore Reed Mason.