By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team (32-13, 18-2) continued its hot start to Ohio Valley Conference play Saturday afternoon, besting Southeast Missouri (21-20, 11-11) in 10 innings, 9-8 in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader.
Game one was a roller coaster affair, featuring four lead changes and four ties, not to mention an extra inning. Facing a two-run deficit early, Tech knotted things up in the top of the third inning.
Matt Jones led off the frame getting plunked by a pitch while junior David Garza followed with a single through the left side. Freshman left fielder Anthony Carrera then provided the key hit of the frame, ripping a double to right center field to drive in both runners.
In the fourth, Tech took its first lead of the game thanks to designated hitter Ryan Flick. The junior slugger hammered his 11th home run of the season to left field, giving the Golden Eagles a 3-2 advantage.
The Redhawks tallied markers in the fifth and sixth to recapture the lead at 4-3, one that would remain until the top of the eighth. Tech then unleashed the bats.
It started with a leadoff single to right field off the bat of Garza. SEMO rebounded a bit, snagging two quick outs to seemingly escape the inning, but the Golden Eagles offense had other ideas.
Junior third baseman Trevor Putzig single through the right side, setting up sophomore Kevin Strohschein for a game-tying single to right field. Flick followed right after, providing the Golden Eagles with a 5-4 lead after smacking his 21st double of the season up the middle.
The real haymaker thrown came off the bat of junior first baseman Chase Chambers, however, as the slugger mashed a monster, three-run jack job to center field. In the blink of the eye, Tech held a supposed commanding 8-4 lead with just an inning and a half to play.
The Redhawks never blinked, rallying in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 8-8. Each side traded zeroes in the ninth, moving on to an extra session.
Tech took control from there, starting with a one-out walk to Chambers. Senior backstop Chris Brown then doubled down the right field line, putting two runners in scoring position with Jones making his way to the dish. The second baseman came through in the clutch, firing a single to right center field that drove in the go-ahead run to make it a 9-8 contest.
Working his third inning of relief, Travis Moths battled with the home squad in the bottom of the 10th, overcoming two runners on to start to the inning. The junior struck out one and then forced back-to-back lineouts to the outfield that gave the Golden Eagles their sixth OVC series victory.
Moths gathered the victory in the contest, moving to 2-0 on the year.
The second contest of the day's doubleheader was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning due to consistent lightning in the area. Southeast Missouri held a 5-4 advantage at the time of the delay. The two sides will attempt to resume the game on Sunday with an exact start time unknown at present time.
Fans are encouraged to check out TTUsports.com, Twitter and Facebook for updates concerning game three.
Photo by Jim Dillon