By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
LEXINGTON, Ky. – With a match-up featuring two of the nation's most prolific offenses, runs were expected to fall as the Tennessee Tech baseball team (32-11) took on No. 17 Kentucky (27-14) Tuesday evening. No one could have predicted what transpired between the two squads, however.
The two teams combined for 28 runs, 31 hits, and 10 home runs as the Wildcats pulled off a back-and-forth affair featuring power from all over the lineups. The contest tied two Tennessee Tech records and propelled the Golden Eagles into the national lead for home runs this season.
Three Tech players managed multi-long ball contests, including seniors Zach Stephens and Daniel Miles, as well as junior Dylan Bosheers. Senior Jordan Parris added a solo shot to give Tech its highest home run total since the team knocked out seven against Carson-Newman back in 1989.
The combined 10 jack jobs also proved to tie a Golden Eagle mark. The last time Tech and an opponent combined for 10 bombs was back in 1983 when Tech and East Tennessee State each had five in a contest.
The Golden Eagles actually held a 7-1 advantage after three and a half innings, using a solo shot by Bosheers to kick off the scoring in the second frame. Stephens and Miles followed in the third frame, hitting back-to-back solo bombs to grab a 3-1 advantage.
Parris gave Tech a 4-1 lead with a solo moonshot in the fourth inning and Zach Stephens drove in a run with an RBI double to left center. Miles then cleared the bases with his second dinger of the contest.
The potent Kentucky offense got going from that point on, scoring in every inning except the first and third. A three-spot followed by two more runs in the fifth cut Tech's advantage to just one run at 7-6. The Wildcats then opened things up, taking the lead with a five-run sixth, jumping to an 11-7 advantage.
Both sides traded runs in the seventh, sending the Golden Eagles into the top of the eighth with a four-run deficit staring them in the face. Tech responded, however, clubbing two more bombs to tie things up. Zach Zarzour drew a leadoff walk and Stephens crushed a two-run long ball two batters later to cut the lead in half.
A bloop single to centerfield set up the Tech squad again, and after recording its second out, Bosheers sent the team into a frenzy. The junior shortstop hammered a two-run homer deep to right field, notching things at 12-12 with less than two innings left in the contest.
Kentucky answered one more time, however, getting a hold of a two-run shot to left field and using a base hit to grab a 15-12 lead. Tech did manage to scrape one across in the ninth, but the Golden Eagles were denied the comeback bid as Kentucky closed out the contest with a line drive.
Stephens led the Tech attack on the day, clubbing two home runs on a 3-for-4 day at the dish. He drove in four runs while scoring three more and walking once. The senior now has a team and league-high 13 dingers on the year. Miles was close behind, going 4-for-5 with two long balls, three RBI, and three runs scored.
Bosheers collected his ninth and 10th moonshots of the year, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.
UK's Matt Reida enjoyed a career performance, collecting four hits in four at bats with four RBI and four runs scored. He also walked twice while hitting his first home run in two years. JaVon Shelby also had a big day, collecting two hits and three RBI. He also homered for the Wildcats.
Eight Tech pitchers saw the mound in the contest, as well as six hurlers for the Wildcats. Spencer Jack earned his second victory of the year and Kyle Cody picked up his fifth save of the season. Tech reliever Austin Tolle was dealt his first loss of the season.
The Golden Eagles will continue their six-game road stretch with a three-game series at Ohio Valley Conference foe Murray State beginning Friday, Apr. 25.