By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - A back-and-forth contest that featured four lead changes, a two-hour rain delay, and three extra innings didn't go the way the Tennessee Tech baseball team hoped Saturday afternoon, as Southeast Missouri edged the Golden Eagles, 9-8, at Bush Stadium.
The Redhawks handed Tech just its second series loss of the season with the win, defeating the Golden Eagles for the second straight day. SEMO was led by senior left fielder Derek Gibson, who finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored.
Senior right fielder Brandon Thomasson was the top dog for the Golden Eagles, driving in three runs and drawing two walks as part of a 1-for-3 day.
Just 13 pitches into the contest, lightning detected in the area forced play to a hault for two hours, delaying a restart until 4:15 p.m. Southeast Missouri managed to score a run despite the delay, but Golden Eagle starter Evan Fraliex shut the door quickly after that.
Tech answered in the bottom of the first, using an error to tie the game before Thomasson crushed a three-run bomb off batter's eye in center field, his 18th of the year.
The next three innings were relatively uneventful as both sides traded outs until the fifth. The Redhawks scored four runs in the frame, taking a 5-4 lead behind clutch, two-out at bats.
The Golden Eagles answered again, however, retaking the lead in the bottom half thanks to senior Daniel Miles. The third baseman launched a two-run shot to left field that moved Tech ahead, 6-5.
An inning later, Tech added to its advantage, again using a home run to do its dirty work. With a runner on, center fielder Jake Rowland drilled a two-run long ball to right center field, highlighting an eventual 3-for-5 day at the dish for Golden Eagle.
But SEMO would just not go away, scoring three times in the top of the eighth to tie things at 8-8.
Both sides had chances in extra innings, but eventually the small ball play of the Redhawks proved to be enough as a sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th gave Southeast Missouri the lead for good.
Junior Seth Lucio was tabbed with just his second loss of the season while Travis Hayes collected his eighth victory of the year after tossing four innings of relief.
Tech will look to salvage the series on Sunday as the Golden Eagles celebrate their senior day, honoring its eight senior members of the team before the 1 p.m. CT scheduled start.