By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A late rally fell just short for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Sunday afternoon, as Eastern Kentucky foiled the Golden Eagles' attempts at a series sweep with an 8-5 victory at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
The Colonels struck early, plating two in the top of the second inning off a wild pitch by Tech and a sacrifice fly from leadoff man Kyle Nowlin. EKU scored four more runs in top of the fourth, using four hits to do the damage, including a leadoff double by Luke Wurzelbacher and RBI double by Shea Sullivan.
Another run in the top of the sixth provided a 7-0 lead for the Colonels, a lead that for any other team may seem insurmountable. As for the Golden Eagles, they never gave up, starting their comeback bid with a solo shot to left field by third baseman Daniel Miles.
Eastern Kentucky grabbed one last insurance run in the top of the eighth, expanding its lead to 8-1, but once again, the Tech offense made things interesting.
After a leadoff walk by Zach Zarzour and quick out by the EKU defense, senior slugger Zach Stephens squared up on the second pitch he saw, hammering a two-run bomb to left center field, cutting the EKU lead down to 8-3.
One last opportunity in the ninth gave Tech fans a glimmer of hope. A five-pitch walk by Jordan Hopkins and a double to left field by outfielder Tyler Brazelton set up the Tech offense nicely. Jordan Parris grounded out to shortstop in the next at bat, driving in Hopkins.
With two outs, Jake Rowland singled through the right side, driving in Brazelton and cutting the EKU lead to just 8-5. The Colonels then brought in closer Cody Creamer to try and shut down the Tech rally.
On his first pitch, Stephens blasted a long shot to left center that looked sure to leave the park. But a gust of wind blew in at the wrong moment and Taylor Blair caught the fly ball at the warning track to finish the game.
EKU starter Caleb Johnson grabbed his first win of the season and Creamer earned his third save of the year. Tech starter John Gora was dealt his first loss of the season.
Brazelton, Rowland, and Miles all tied for the Tech lead with two hits each on the day. Stephens connected for a home run for the third consecutive game, giving him five on the year to tie for the team lead with Brandon Thomasson.
Shortstop Dylan Bosheers connected on a base hit to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.
The Golden Eagles will hit the road Tuesday for a 2 p.m. tilt with UNC Asheville.