Golden Eagles clinch No. 2 seed in OVC tournament with 3-2 win at Belmont
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Pack your bags Tennessee Tech baseball fans! The Golden Eagles are headed to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed after taking out the Belmont Bruins, 3-2, in 10 innings Saturday afternoon.
For the second straight contest, the Golden Eagles and Bruins battled on the mound, going scoreless through the first six innings in the final regular season contest for both teams.
Tennessee Tech opened up the scoring in the top of the seventh inning, using a RBI single by senior second baseman Zach Zarzour to take a 1-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles doubled that lead in the eighth as senior slugger Brandon Thomasson crushed a solo home run to left field to give the Tech squad a 2-0 advantage. The long ball marked the 22nd of the year for the right fielder, ranking him just one behind the national lead behind Kentucky's A.J. Reed.
Belmont rallied late on its senior day, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings. But Tech refused to be swept in the series, as senior first baseman Zach Stephens belted a solo bomb to left field, giving the Golden Eagles the lead for good.
Starter John Gora, picking up his first start in over two months, performed great for the Tech squad, tossing six innings of shutout ball while scattering three hits and walking none while striking out five batters.
Freshman Kyle Keatts earned his second career save in the contest, finishing the final three outs of the game with one strikeout and no walks or hits.
For the contest, Thomasson led Tech with two extra base hits, a double and home run, as well as an RBI. Stephens also finished the game 2-for-5, collecting a moonshot with an RBI.
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Golden Eagles will now enter the OVC tournament as the No. 2 seed, facing off against the lowest seed remaining from Wednesday's opening round on Thursday, May 22 at the Ballpark at Jackson in Jackson, Tenn.
Joining the Tech squad in the tournament are the No. 1 seeded Southeast Missouri Redhawks, No. 3 Jacksonville State Gamecocks, No. 4 SIUE Cougars, No. 5 Morehead State Eagles, and No. 6 Eastern Illinois Panthers.