By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Harsh weather conditions as well as the chance to pick up its 20th victory of the season was more motivation than was needed for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Tuesday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (20-5) swiftly took down the visiting Miami (OH) RedHawks (10-11), 4-1, in a game that lasted just over two hours.
With temperatures barely cracking 40 degrees and flurries dusting the field during pregame warmups, it looked to be anything but baseball weather for the weekday battle. But with a little from the sun, the weather shaped up just enough to warrant a first pitch.
And it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Golden Eagles from there. With winds gusting at and above 30 miles per hour at times, Tech used a methodical approach to picking up its 20th win of the year. Score early and hold it.
That's just how things went down too. In the bottom of the first inning, leadoff man Zach Zarzour kicked things off with a single through the left side on an 0-2 count. Center fielder Jake Rowland reached on a fielder's choice, bringing senior Daniel Miles to the dish with one out. The third baseman, who entered the contest as the nation's hits leader, lived up to his reputation by uncorking a double down the left field line.
The RedHawks managed to record out number two without any trouble, but for some reason elected to intentionally walk shortstop Dylan Bosheers to load the bases for senior slugger Zach Stephens. The all-time Tech leader in RBI made Miami (OH) pay for decision, ripping a two-run single to left center field to propel the Golden Eagles to a 2-0 lead. Tyler Brazelton would follow with his own RBI single to nearly the exact same location and Tech took a 3-0 lead into the second inning.
Miami did manage to scrape a run across in the top of the second frame, using a sacrifice bunt and groundout to cut Tech's lead to 3-1. But that's all the RedHawks would muster the entire game as four Golden Eagle pitchers combined to toss a two-hitter.
Starter Austin Tolle struggled a little with his command, walking five batters on the day. But the junior showed poise with runners on base, allowing just the one earned run in five innings of work to pick up his third victory of the year.
Jeb Scoggins came on for two innings of relief, allowing the only other hit for the RedHawks while striking out one. Kyle Keatts took the eighth inning over, tossing just 10 pitches to record three quick outs. And finally, junior Seth Lucio came on for the final frame, striking out one on his way to his fifth save of the season and 17th of his career.
Coming as no surprise, Miles led the Tech bats on the day, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk while extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
The Golden Eagles will return to the diamond again on Wednesday for the finale of the two-game series against the RedHawks. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. CT as Jacob Honea will battle Alex Brown as Tech looks for the series sweep.