By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A nearly infallible effort on the mound kept the Tennessee Tech baseball team rolling Tuesday evening, as the Golden Eagles (24-7) defeated in-state rival Lipscomb (16-12) in Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex, 10-1.
Sophomore starter Ty King turned in an absolute gem on the hill, tossing five innings while allowing just one hit, one walk and one, unearned run. The right-hander struck out a whopping eight Bisons batters on the night, the youngster's second most in his career.
Lipscomb put a marker on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning after a Golden Eagle miscue on the first play of the game. Leadoff man Michael Gigliotti dropped a bunt down the third base line, forcing third baseman Trevor Putzig to charge the ball and unleash an off-balanced throw to try and beat the speedster.
The junior's throw sailed into the ground and past the outstretched glove of first baseman Chase Chambers, allowing Gigliotti to reach third. Lee Solomon then drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center fielder Alex Junior on the first pitch he saw.
King never looked back after the run scored, striking out the next batter and snagging a line-drive comebacker to end the frame. Over the next three frames, the Cleveland, Tenn. native punched out five Lipscomb batters, including the side in order in the second, while holding the visitors without a hit.
After collecting the first out of the fifth inning, King finally surrendered his lone hit allowed in the contest, a single up the middle that just missed the glove of a sprawled-out Matt Jones. The starter fanned the next two batters, both swinging, to end the frame and set himself up for his first victory of the year.
Senior Even Fraliex covered the sixth and seventh frames in relief, scattering one hit and a walk while also striking out a batter. Fellow senior Kit Fowler took care of business in the eighth, keeping the Bisons off the board with two Ks and a walk. Sophomore Marcus Evey then finished things off, striking out the side for Tech's 24th victory of the year.
It took some time for the Golden Eagle offense to catch up with the pitching effort on Tuesday, but once it came, the flood gates opened right up. In the fourth, sophomore Kevin Strohschein ripped a one-out single through the left side. Two batters later, Chambers walked to put two runners on for Chris Brown.
The senior catcher pulverized the first pitch he saw, clearing the left field wall for a three-run home run, his eighth dinger of the year. Tech followed the big inning with solo runs in the fifth and sixth, a two-spot in the seventh and three more markers in the eighth.
On the night, Brown led the surge on offense with a 1-for-3 showing and four RBI. Strohschein finished 2-for-4 at the dish, scoring twice and driving in two on a two-run double to left center field. In the leadoff spot, Alex Junior tallied two hits in five at bats while in the nine-hole, Collin Harris wrapped up the game 2-for-4 with a team-high three runs scored.
The Golden Eagles will look to keep their perfect 12-0 start to Ohio Valley Conference play in tact this weekend, kicking off a three-game series at Jacksonville State Friday evening at 6 p.m. CT in Oxford, Ala. The two rivals will play in Choccolocco Park, the same site as the 2017 OVC Tournament, while the Gamecocks' stadium undergoes renovations.
Photo by Tony Marable