By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Twenty-one runs. There was just no other way that seemed fitting enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team to end its 2014 home season Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles tallied a season-high on the scoreboard on 20 hits to defeat Southeast Missouri, 21-10.
The victory seemed fitting as the Tech squad celebrated Senior Day, honoring eight members of the team and their families. Each senior played his role in the contest from the first pitch to the last.
Despite winning by a huge 11-run margin, the game was actually a close, back-and-forth battle through the first seven innings, featuring four lead changes along the way. And then the eighth inning occurred.
The Golden Eagles sent 16 batters to the plate in the frame, tying a single-season high for runs in a single inning with 10. More impressive was the fact that nine of those run came with two outs in the inning. It took three Redhawk pitchers to close the frame as Tech racked up seven hits and drew five walks.
Senior right fielder Brandon Thomasson proved to be a true Senior Day slugger, hammering two home runs and double as part of a 5-for-7 day the plate. He drove in a game-high five runs while jumping his season home run total to 20, just one away from the national leader A.J. Reed of Kentucky.
Thomasson scored four times on his way to becoming the first Golden Eagle this season to record five hits in a game. His 20 home runs are the most by a Tech player since the bat change before the 2011 season.
Leadoff man Zach Zarzour, a senior from Ooltewah, Tenn., really set the tone for the game, drawing a five-pitch walk to immediately give Tech a runner after giving up a run in the top of the first. On the day the second baseman tallied two hits in four at bats, scoring four times and driving in a run while drawing three walks. He also led the Golden Eagles with five assists in the field.
Following Zarzour in the lineup was fellow senior Zach Stephens. The slugger came through right off the bat, crushing a two-run bomb to left center field to give Tech an early 2-1 lead. It marked the 15th of the year for the first baseman, who finished 1-for-5 with two runs scored and two walks.
Another senior was next to damage in the lineup, as third baseman Daniel Miles quietly produced a solid performance for the Tech squad. Miles scored one run while driving in two more on two hits in four at bats. He also drew two of Tech's 11 walks on the day and made several great defensive plays at the hot corner.
Senior catcher Jordan Parris made good use of his at bats, scoring four runs as part of a 1-for-3 day at the dish. The backstop walked twice while also getting hit by a pitch.
All three senior pitcher saw action in the contest as well. Cookeville native Ross Spurgeon tossed one and two thirds innings of relief, allowing three hits and three runs while striking out two batters. Stanton Taylor followed with one and third on the hill, giving up just two hits and one run. Right-hander Garrett Baugh took care of the final out of the contest, needing just three pitches to force Redhawk pinch hitter Branden Boggetto to fly out to end the game.
Junior shortstop Dylan Bosheers had a tremendous outing, gathering four hits in five at bats. He was also hit by a pitch and scored a run while driving in two. Jake Rowland managed to reach base four times despite not managing a hit on the day. He drew two walks and was hit twice.
Designated hitter Jordan Hopkins had a solid day at the plate, going 3-for-6 with a bases-clearing, three-run double in the eighth that all but cemented the Golden Eagle victory. Redshirt freshman Hunter Hudson gave the Tech crowd a good sign of the future in his first collegiate start, going 3-for-6 with a mammoth solo home run to left field and three total RBI.
Left-handed reliever John Gora earned his second win of the season, tossing two innings of relief while surrendering just one hits and striking out one.
The Golden Eagles will return to action for the final regular season series starting this Thursday. Tech will make the close trip to Nashville for a three-game set against in-state rival Belmont.