Tech evens series behind three-run eighth inning

Cullen Park tags out Chase Greenwell at the plate in the top of the ninth (photo by Rob Schabert)
Cullen Park tags out Chase Greenwell at the plate in the top of the ninth (photo by Rob Schabert)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Game two of Tennessee Tech's three-game series against Morehead State had a total of 34 hits Saturday, but it was the Golden Eagles who came up with the biggest hits in the eighth inning as they drove in three runs to even the series with a 10-9 win.

The crucial point in the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning as TTU trailed MSU 8-7. In the top of the inning, Morehead State took the lead off a leadoff home run from Taylor Pickens, but that would not deter Tech as it rallied for three runs on four hits to take a 10-8 lead.

After two of the first three batters reached base in the bottom of the eighth, MSU reliever Morgan Cisco was lifter for Matt Duncan, who earned his 11th save of the season in Friday's game. The Golden Eagles responded with pinch-hitter Tevis Sherfield who posted an RBI-single through the right side. The scoring continued as Chad Hayes and Austin Wulf followed up with their own RBI-singles as they gave Tech the lead for good at 10-8.

Cullen Park took the hill for TTU in the ninth, but MSU was far from done as it managed to get runners on second and third with only one out. Park then threw a wild pitch but a solid defensive play by Park and Ben Burgess caught Chase Greenwell at the plate for the second out. Morehead State was able to get one run across on another wild pitch but that was all it could muster as Park finished the game for his third save of the season.    

TTU's Seth Lucio (2-2) earned the win as he gave up three runs in three innings in relief, while Cisco (5-2) took the loss as he gave up two runs in one inning of work.

Five of Tennessee Tech's 16 hits went for extra bases including Zephan Guyear's two-run homer in the seventh. Michael Morris posted a team-high four hits, including three doubles in his first three at bats. Ben Burgess also posted a double.

MSU recorded five extra base hits as well, including a pair of solo-shots from Pickens and Luke Bainer. Andrew Deeds led the Eagles with four hits, while Luke Bainer scored a team-high three runs.

TTU starter Matthew Shepherd gave up five runs, four earned, in five innings, while his counterpart Noah Smallwood gave up five runs, three earned, in five innings as well.

The rubber game of TTU's three game series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.