By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team suffered back-to-back close losses in doubleheader action Saturday afternoon, falling twice at the hands of non-conference opponent Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill.
In game one, the Golden Eagles (30-11) took an early 1-0 advantage over the Salukis (20-20), using an RBI single up the middle to kick off the action. The home team answered in the third, plating two to take the lead for what would wind up being for good.
Southern Illinois scored three times in the fourth, plating three runs while taking advantage of a couple of Golden Eagle miscues. The runs provided a 5-1 lead for the Salukis.
Tech made a comeback bid in the sixth, with junior Trevor Putzig scoring on a passed ball and junior David Garza driving in a second run to pull within two. The Salukis shut down a bases-loaded threat with two outs in the frame, however, helping limit the damage.
Both sides traded single runs the rest of the way, with SIU taking the 6-4 victory.
Tech took a larger advantage to kick off game 2, scoring twice early in the first behind and RBI double by Putzig and sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore Kevin Strohschein. The Golden Eagles ran it to 3-0 behind a second-inning RBI single by Alex Junior.
The Salukis answered right back, scoring once in the second frame and three times in the third, to take a 4-3 lead.
The Golden Eagles recaptured the lead in the fourth, thanks to an RBI double from freshman catcher John Elford and RBI single by Junior. Southern Illinois notched things at 5-5 with a solo run in the fourth, but Tech blasted the game open in the fifth.
With the bases loaded and no outs, junior left fielder Collin Harris unloaded a bases-clearing double to right field. He would score on an error later in the frame, providing Tech with a 9-5 advantage.
The home team cut that lead to 9-7 in the seventh, but looked like it was on its way to a loss in the ninth. With two outs in the frame and just one to go, the Salukis rallied behind four consecutive hits, on a total of five pitches. Thanks to a single, RBI double, RBI single and another RBI double, SIU walked off with the victory to stun the Golden Eagles, 10-9.
The sides are set to square off in game three on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start.
Photo by Tony Marable