By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the second straight year, the No. 19 Tennessee Tech baseball squared off against Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field in Nashville and walked away with a victory. The Golden Eagles (41-6) defeated the Commodores (25-23) 6-4 Tuesday evening, securing the team's third win over Vandy since 2013.
With the win, the Golden Eagles tied the program record for wins in a single season, matching last year's total of 41 victories. Tech also posted its fourth victory of the year against Power Five conference opponents in as many opportunities, also claiming wins against West Virginia twice, and a win at Tennessee.
Tech jumped all over the scoreboard early in the contest, beginning with a three-run first frame. Alex Junior led off by reaching on a fielding error by the first baseman. Senior Trevor Putzig followed with an infield single to shortstop and junior Kevin Strohschein loaded the bases with a single to right field.
Junior dented home plate for a 1-0 lead on a passed ball and senior first baseman Chase Chambers tripled the advantage with a two-run single up the middle. Just like that, it was 3-0 in favor of Tech.
In the top of the second, senior Collin Harris led things off with a single up the middle and promptly stole second. Putzig drove him in quickly, blasting an RBI, ground-rule double to center field. Strohschein turned in an RBI single up the middle to increase the lead to 5-0.
The Golden Eagles made it a 6-0 advantage in the third, gathering an RBI single to center field from Junior after an earlier double in the frame by Brennon Kaleiwahea.
Vanderbilt scored solo runs in the fifth and seventh, as well as two more in the ninth, but the Tech bullpen locked down the rally attempt to secure the victory.
Sophomore Devin Lancaster tossed made the start on Tuesday, tossing two scoreless innings. Colton Provey followed, covering the next two and a third frames while allowing just one run and striking out three. He would go on to earn the victory, moving to 4-0 on the year and becoming the first Tech pitcher in the Matt Bragga era to claim wins over both Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
Zack Wilcox took his turn for an inning, holding the Commodores scoreless in his outing. Next to enter the contest out of the Tech bullpen was redshirt freshman Tyler Sylvester. The right-hander tossed an inning and third while allowing a single run and fanning three.
Junior closer Ethan Roberts rounded the contest, completing the final two and one third innings to earn his Ohio Valley Conference-leading 12th save of the season. Roberts struck out five, including the side in the eighth.
Chambers finished the contest 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI while Putzig, Strohschein, David Garza and Harris all posted multi-hit efforts.
The Golden Eagles will return to action Friday evening, playing host to Eastern Kentucky in a 6 p.m. CT contest to kick off their three-game series. Tech needs just one win to clinch the OVC regular season title outright for the second straight year.
Photo by Thomas Corhern