By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A second stellar showing on the mound, as well as a huge fifth inning at the plate, lifted the Tennessee Tech baseball team (11-5) to a 9-1 victory and two-game, midweek, series sweep over West Virginia (7-8) Wednesday afternoon.
Southpaw Nic Dye turned in the best performance of his young career, tossing six and one third innings while holding the Mountaineers to just four hits and one earned run. The sophomore walked two and struck out two while piling up a career-high 95 pitches.
Dye held West Virginia without a hit through the first three innings and surrendered his only earned run allowed on a solo home run to left field by Jimmy Galusky in the top of the seventh.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Sylvester finished off the seventh frame out of the bullpen and proceeded to toss a perfect eighth inning as well. Junior college transfer Zack Wilcox rounded out the Tech pitching staff's day, facing three batters and using just 11 pitches to retire them all in the ninth.
A pitcher's duel early on, the Golden Eagle bats broke through in the fifth inning, led by none other than reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week John Ham. The junior second baseman led off the frame with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, Collin Harris drew a five-pitch walk.
Right fielder Nick Osborne ripped a single to third base to load the bases with just one out. Senior catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea then delivered the game-winning hit, lacing a two-run double to left center field on the first pitch he saw.
Following a pitching change, center fielder Alex Junior cleared the rest of the bases with a single through the right side against an infield playing in. Senior Trevor Putzig singled down the left field line to keep things rolling, driving in Junior who had advanced to second on a wild pitch earlier in the at bat.
David Garza drove in the final run of the inning, singling to shortstop as part of the six-run frame. Senior first baseman Chase Chambers went yard for the second time in two games in the bottom of the seventh, blasting a two-run shot through the wind and off the scoreboard in right field.
Pinch-hitting in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore catcher John Elford crushed an opposite-field, solo bomb to right field to lead off the frame, his first career home run. The dinger marked the 40th of the year for the nation's leading home run hitting team.
The Golden Eagles are set to return to OVC play this weekend, heading north for a three-game series at SIUE beginning at 6 p.m. CT Friday evening. Games two and three are set for 1 p.m. first pitches on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information