By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team (34-17, 20-5) fell in its Ohio Valley Conference series opener at Eastern Kentucky (24-26, 10-15) Friday evening, dropping a 12-8 contest in Richmond, Ky.
The Colonels jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over the first three innings, plating four in the bottom of the first and adding an unearned marker in the third. Tech quickly rallied, however, making its move in the top of the fourth inning.
Senior first baseman Chase Chambers led off the frame with single to center field. Sophomore right fielder Kevin Strohschein followed with his own single, this one to right center field. Next up was senior catcher Chris Brown, who promptly unleashed a mighty hack on the first pitch he saw, blasting a three-run shot to left field for his 10th home run of the season.
Senior second baseman Matt Jones followed with the team's fourth straight hit to open the inning, singling through the left side. After a two-out walk was issued to junior shortstop David Garza, junior third baseman Trevor Putzig smacked a ball to left field that was ruled an error, allowing two more TTU runs to score and tie the game.
In the fifth, Chambers and Strohschein both reach to start the inning, on a base hit to right center and a walk, respectively. Three batters later, junior left fielder Collin Harris ripped a two-run double to right field. Sophomore center fielder Alex Junior followed up with his own double to left field, driving in Harris for an 8-5 lead.
Eastern Kentucky settled down on the mound from that point on, holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for the final four frames. On the other side of the ball, the Colonels answered Tech's attack in the fifth with two runs of their own, trimming the Golden Eagles lead to 8-7.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, the home squad took the lead for good, scoring three times on a two-out triple. EKU gathered two insurance runs in the eighth as well, providing the final score of 12-8.
Offensively, Brown led the Golden Eagles with three RBI thanks to his long ball in the fourth. Strohschein finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish, drawing two walks as well. In five trips to the plate, Garza drew a whopping four walks, tying the program record for a single game held by six other Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles will kick off game two against Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT. One more league win or loss by Morehead State will clinch the ninth OVC regular season championship for the Golden Eagles and first since 2013.
Photo by Tony Marable