By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After putting together arguably the greatest season ever by not just a Tennessee Tech team, but also an Ohio Valley Conference squad, the Golden Eagle baseball team completed the 2018 campaign with its first-ever end-of-season national ranking. Tech was recognized as a consensus top-20 program to conclude the year, finishing as high as No. 11 by both Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), the highest finish ever by an OVC team.
The Golden Eagles, who set both program and conference records with 53 wins, 27 OVC wins and an appearance in the NCAA Super Regional, was also ranked No. 12 in the nation by D1Baseball.com and the USA TODAY Coaches poll. Collegiate Baseball newspaper listed Tech No. 13 nationally to end the year while Perfect Game ranked the Golden Eagles No. 16 in its final poll of the year. During the season, the Golden Eagles climbed to as high as No. 10 in the national rankings, the highest by any team in program and OVC history.
In 2018, Tech boasted the nation's most potent offense, leading all of Division I baseball in batting average (.332), hits (788), home runs (135), home runs per game (2.08), on base percentage (.430), runs (639), scoring (9.8) and slugging percentage (.576). The team also finished second nationally with 53 wins, a .815 win/loss percentage and 371 base on balls.
More than 20 team records fell during the season, most notably the season records for wins, consecutive wins (a national best and OVC record-breaking 28), home runs, hits, runs scored, RBI, slugging percentage, innings pitched and saves. The Golden Eagles also boasted a school and league record eight student-athletes selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft with a ninth signing as a free agent. Five different Tech players combined to take home 16 All-American nods. Junior Kevin Strohschein claimed his second career OVC Player of the Year honor while senior Travis Moths became the third Tech player to win OVC Pitcher of the Year honors.
Tech thrilled the nation in winning its first-ever NCAA Regional title, finishing 4-1 at the Oxford Regional with incredible back-to-back elimination-game wins over No. 4 Ole Miss on its home field. The Golden Eagles became the first team in league history to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals and finished just one win away from Omaha after defeating No. 5 Texas in the first contest of the Austin Super Regional.
The Golden Eagles collected its 10th OVC regular season title in program history during the season, finishing an astonishing 27-3 in league play without dropping a single OVC series. The team won 11 straight weekend series, including 13 of its 14 during the season. Tech also finished a perfect 11-0 during midweek competition.