By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the second consecutive outing, the Tennessee Tech baseball team's pitching staff was at its best, as the Golden Eagles (27-9, 14-2) outlasted Murray State (16-17, 6-7) in a pitcher's duel Thursday evening, 4-2.
Just two days after knocking off No. 19 Vanderbilt with just two unearned runs allowed, the Tech staff once again turned in a gem on the hill. Starter Michael Wood out-dueled Racer hurler Ryan Dills for six innings before giving way to the final three to junior reliever Travis Moths.
Wood held the Racers off the scoreboard through the first four frames, working with a 1-0 advantage as soon as the Golden Eagles took to the plate. Sophomore slugger Kevin Strohschein provided the lead, ripping an RBI single to right center field that drove in fellow sophomore Alex Junior.
The visitors finally dented the plate in the fifth, tying things at 1-1 with a double to left center field off the bat of Kipp Moore. Tech quickly answered in the bottom half of frame, starting with a leadoff double by Collin Harris. Junior and then Trevor Putzig followed with back-to-back bunt singles, the latter driving in Harris for the go-ahead run.
Tech tagged two more on the board in the sixth, beginning with a leadoff bomb crushed to left center field by senior second baseman Matt Jones, his sixth home run of the year. Shortstop David Garza followed with a double down the third base line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Harris. Junior then drove in his teammate for a 4-1 lead.
Wood completed the first six innings of the contest Thursday evening, scattering five hits and two walks while allowing just a single earned run. The senior right hander fanned eight Racer batters on the night, dominating on his way to his league-leading seventh win of the year.
Moths came on in the seventh and was fantastic over the final three innings, allowing no hits until a leadoff home run in the ninth by Jack Hranec. He rebounded quickly to record two quick outs in the frame. After a single through the right side, he mustered up five great pitches to set down Jaron Robinson looking to end the game.
The right-hander struck out four Murray State batters on his way to his second save of the season, hitting the strike zone on a whopping 30 out of 44 pitches.
Junior led the offensive attack Thursday evening, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI and runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Putzig, Jones and junior Ryan Flick each poste multi-hit games on the day, with both Jones and Putzig recording RBI. Flick drew two walks and concluded the contest 2-for-2 at the dish.
The Golden Eagles and Racers will square off again Friday evening at Bush Stadium, with first pitch set to commence at 6 p.m. CT.
Photo by Tony Marable