By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team mounted another rally, but couldn't hold on in the end Sunday afternoon, falling in its Ohio Valley Conference series finale against Belmont, 9-5.
Much like the first two contests of the series, Belmont (22-21, 16-8) took the liberty of lighting up the scoreboard first. In the top of the first, the Bruins used a pair of home runs to plate three for the early advantage.
Tech (18-24, 6-15) took its turn answering the bell in the bottom of the second, kicking off the frame with a single off the bat of freshman John Dyer. Second baseman Nathan McMeans followed with a five-pitch walk, setting up junior Gavin Johns for an RBI single up the middle.
After a pitching change and strikeout, freshman JD Funk continued his hot stretch with a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the deficit to 3-2. Shortstop Hunter Higdon earned a walk to put a pair of runners on for All-American Kevin Strohschein.
The senior slugger worked the count to 2-2 before blistering a rocket down the left field line to drive in a pair and give the Golden Eagles the lead. Strohschein turned on the burners to leg out his second triple of the year and 10th of his career, tying him for fourth in program history.
In the bottom of the third, Tech collected another tally on the board, this one courtesy of freshman Jack Schad. The catcher laid down perfect bunt down the third base line, singling to the pitcher and driving in McMeans from third for a 5-3 lead.
Belmont scored once in the fifth to pull within one, but it was the sixth inning that turned the game around. The Bruins scored five runs in the frame, with a three-run blast to left field providing the exclamation point. Heading into the bottom half, it read 9-5 in favor of Belmont.
The Bruin pitching staff shut down the Golden Eagle offense the rest of the way, holding Tech to just one hit over the final three innings.
Strohschein finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI while Johns managed two hits in four at bats with a run scored and RBI. McMeans scored twice with one hit and a walk.
Tech returns to the diamond on Tuesday, making a trip down I-40 for a midweek tilt with Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Photo by Tony Marable