By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
CHARLESTON, Ill. - The first inning was all the Tennessee Tech baseball team needed to grab another Ohio Valley Conference series Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (28-10, 11-7) scored four times in the frame on their way to an 8-3 victory over the Panthers (11-23, 5-10) of Eastern Illinois.
The Golden Eagles got started right away, using an EIU error with two outs in the inning to plate four runs. The first came on the error, as Brandon Thomasson reached base on the miscue. Two came off bases-loaded walks, one from shortstop Dylan Bosheers and one from center fielder Jake Rowland. Jordan Parris squeezed in an infield single, driving in the fourth run.
Tech grabbed another score in the second stanza, using a double by senior slugger Zach Stephens and RBI triple by Thomasson to give the Golden Eagles a 5-0 advantage.
Eastern Illinois tried to mount a comeback in the third inning, scoring twice and coming within striking distance. But reliever Ross Spurgeon shut the door down, keeping the Panther offense at bay for two and two thirds innings. He struck out three batters and surrendered just one hit on his way to his third win of the season.
In the seventh, the Golden Eagles broke the game wide open, beginning with a leadoff single to left field by Bosheers. Rowland followed with a four-pitch walk, chasing EIU starter Joe Greenfield from the game. Leadoff man Zach Zarzour drilled a two-run double to left center field later in the inning, upping Tech's advantage to 7-2. Tyler Brazelton finished the scoring with an RBI single up the middle.
The Panthers collected one more run in the bottom of the ninth, spoiling Tech reliever Kyle Keatts' perfect relief performance. The freshman allowed just the one run, covering four innings and striking out one while allowing only two hits. He earned his first career save on the day, becoming the first Golden Eagles since the 2012 season to record one other than closer Seth Lucio.
Offensively, four separate Tech players recorded multi-hit days, including Zarzour (2-for-6), Stephens (2-for-5), Daniel Miles (2-for-5), and Bosheers (2-for-4). Only one Tech starter did not score a run in the game, and six different Golden Eagles drove in at least one.
The Golden Eagles will return to Cookeville for a single game on Tuesday, Apr. 15, hosting Alabama A&M in a 6 p.m. tilt.