By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – An early offensive outburst wasn't enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday evening, as the Golden Eagles fell to Jacksonville State on the road at Jim Case Stadium, 12-10.
Tech kicked off the action by taking a 4-0 lead in the first inning, with the brunt of the damage coming off the bat of red-hot, All-American Kevin Strohschein. After the first two batters of the contest reached, the senior slugger hammered a line drive over the wall in left field for a three-run home run.
Jacksonville State snagged a solo run in the first, but Tech answered back in the second. With one out, second baseman Nathan McMeans singled to left center field. Next up, left fielder Anthony Carrera crushed a two-run blast to right field, the junior's fifth dinger of the year.
In the third, junior Gavin Johns turned it into a 7-1 Golden Eagle advantage, slaughtering a solo shot to left center field for Tech's third long ball of the game. A single run in the bottom half from JSU made it a 7-2 contest.
The Gamecocks struck for six runs in the bottom of the fourth frame to take an 8-7 lead. Two innings later, Tech tied things back up with Hinchman driving in the run on a fielder's choice to shortstop.
In the seventh, Jacksonville State scored four more times to jump out to a 12-8 advantage. Not ones to back down, the Golden Eagles put together a short, two-out rally in the ninth.
Back at it, Strohschein sent the first pitch he saw on a mission to the moon towards left center field, his second round tripper of the game. Four pitches later, Hinchman uncorked a solo jack job to center field for back-to-back home runs. It represented the youngster's 10th moon shot of the season and cut the JSU lead to just 12-10.
It would be all the Golden Eagles would muster, however, as a pitching change from the Gamecocks led to the final out of the contest.
Strohschein finished the game 4-for-5 with four RBI, continuing to make history along the way. With his strong performance, the four-year Tech veteran broke the Ohio Valley Conference's record for total bases, accumulating 536 so far in his illustrious career.
The league's two-time OVC Player of the Year moved into second place on both the Tech and OVC career rankings for RBI, bringing his total to 216, just 24 away from the all-time record held by former Golden Eagle Zach Stephens.
He also moved into a tie for second place on Tech's career home run list, tying A.J. Kirby-Jones with 51 round trippers. He needs 12 more to break the record, also held by Stephens, which represents the OVC mark as well.
Hinchman finished 3-for-6 with two RBI while McMeans scored three runs as part of an impressive 4-for-5 showing at the dish.
The series finale is slated for a 1:00 p.m. CT first pitch on Sunday.
Photo by Tony Marable