By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
OXFORD, Ala. – It didn't take long for the Tennessee Tech baseball team to right the ship after suffering its first loss in Ohio Valley Conference play Friday night, as the Golden Eagles (25-8, 13-1) unleashed a smothering offensive attack Saturday afternoon to defeat Jacksonville State (16-12, 5-6) in Choccolocco Park by a decisive score of 22-6.
The Golden Eagles wasted no time jumping on the scoreboard, plating two in the first and running away with it from that point on. The visitors scored a least one run in eight of the nine innings played on the day, tying a season-high with five home runs while ripping a season-best eight doubles.
Junior Chase Chambers kicked off the fire sale, lacing a two-run double to left center field for a 2-0 lead in the first. Tech plated four more in the second, using an RBI double from sophomore Nick Osborne, two-run home run from Alex Junior and solo shot from Kevin Strohschein to do the damage.
Still not satisfied with a 6-0 lead, the Golden Eagles nearly doubled their advantage in the third. TTU unleashed the bats for five runs, starting with a bases-clearing, three-run double by Osborne. Three batters later, junior third baseman Trevor Putzig pounded a double down the left field line to drive in two more.
The lead would inflate to 11-0 before Jacksonville State finally put a run across, as Tech dented home plate twice in the fourth after a Gamecock error at third base with two outs. The home team snagged a single run in the bottom half, but the Golden Eagles defense quickly ended any further threat as Putzig, second baseman Matt Jones, and Chambers completed a 5-4-3 double play.
Junior designated hitter Ryan Flick launched a solo bomb to center field to get the run back in the fifth. Jones and shortstop David Garza each smacked RBI doubles in the frame as well, making it a 16-1 advantage.
Flick hammered his second long ball of the game in the sixth – his ninth of the year – this time a two-run shot to right field. The Gamecocks held Tech off the board in the seventh, but the Golden Eagles answered right back with a three-spot in the eighth, scoring on a wild pitch and back-to-back doubles from Chambers and Jones.
Pinch hitting in the top of the ninth, freshman Cody Littlejohn crushed his first dinger of his young career, a solo tattoo job to right field. The run gave Tech a 22-6 lead that would hold for the Golden Eagles' 25th win of the year.
Senior hurler Jake Usher took the win, tossing five innings while allowing just five hits and two earned runs. He struck out two Gamecock batters while walking one.
Relievers Marcus Evey, Devin Lancaster, Brandon Smith and Max Tilton combined to cover the final four frames, allowing just one earned and four total runs. They also combined for four strikeouts and just two walks.
The Golden Eagles will look to capture their fifth straight OVC series as the two sides match up in the rubber game Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT.
By Tony Marable