Tech baseball drops first match-up with in-state rival Middle Tennessee

Tech baseball drops first match-up with in-state rival Middle Tennessee

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – An early lead disappeared quickly for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Tuesday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles fell on the road to in-state rival Middle Tennessee, 11-4.

Tech kicked off the action in the first, plating a run with two outs thanks to a single to center field from sophomore Jason Hinchman. The youngster gave Tech a 1-0 lead after driving in junior college transfer Jay Meuse who had led off the game with a single through the right side.

Middle Tennessee answered with a long ball in the bottom half, tying the contest at 1-1. The Blue Raider offense then burst into life in the second and third frames. Tech surrendered five hits to six batters to open the frame, with four doubles wrapping up the four-run inning.

In the third, it was six hits, including two doubles and home run that provided the damage. Six runs dented home plate in the inning, providing the Blue Raiders an 11-1 lead through three.

Junior college transfers Mark Leonard and Jacob Cole both combined to toss the five remaining innings without surrendering a run. Cole struck out four in his scoreless seventh and eighth innings.

The Midddle Tennessee arms were capable of keeping the Tech offense at bay for five straight innings, but the Golden Eagles broke through in the seventh to show some life.

Junior Anthony Carrera led it off with a single to right center field, one of his team-high three hits on the day in four at bats. Hinchman followed with a four-pitch walk. Pinch hitting in the next at bat, freshman backstop Jack Schad laced a single to right field to score a run for the Golden Eagles.

Zell Walker drew four consecutive balls after fouling off the first two pitches he saw, loading the bags for the next man in the lineup. Freshman Jason Hogan pinch hit and stabbed the second pitch he saw through the right side to plate a second Tech marker.

Walker would score later in the frame on a balk, providing the last taste of home plate the Golden Eagles would find in the contest.

Joining Carrera with a two-hit day were Meuse and fellow junior college transfer Andrew Swanson. Meuse recorded Tech's lone extra base hit on the day, a double in the fourth.

Redshirt freshman Daniel Holley took the loss on the day, completing one third of an inning in relief while allowing four earned runs on five hits. Middle Tennessee's Josh Young earned the win after completing three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, holding Tech to three hits and striking out five.

The Golden Eagles return home to Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex for a weekend series with visiting Youngstown State. Starting Friday, Mar. 1 with a 6:00 p.m. CT first pitch, the two will square off in a three-game set that features a Saturday tilt at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 1:00 p.m.

Photo by Tony Marable