Tech baseball closes out 2019 regular season at UT Martin

Tech baseball closes out 2019 regular season at UT Martin

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Baseball Weekend Preview (5/15)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team will close out the 2019 regular season with a crucial, three-game Ohio Valley Conference series at UT Martin this weekend, beginning with a 6 p.m. CT tilt Thursday evening. 

Game two of the weekend is scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch on Friday and the series finale is slated for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday. 

Currently tied with the Skyhawks and SIUE for ninth place in the league standings, Tech's OVC Tournament hopes remain intact heading into the final series. The Golden Eagles trail Southeast Missouri by one game for the final spot in the tournament, but do own tiebreakers over both the Redhawks and the Cougars should they become necessary.

TENNESSEE TECH (22-29, 9-18) at UT MARTIN (21-29, 9-18)

Twitter: @TNTech_Baseball | Facebook: /TennesseeTechBaseball | Instagram: TNTech_Baseball

Thursday, May 16, 6:00 pm | Martin, Tenn. | Skyhawk Field (500) | STATS 
Friday, May 17, 4:00 pm | Martin, Tenn. | Skyhawk Field (500) | STATS | VIDEO 
Saturday, May 18, 1:00 pm | Martin, Tenn. | Skyhawk Field (500) | STATS 

All-American outfielder Kevin Strohschein has spent the majority of his senior campaign rewriting the Tech and OVC record books and continued that trend last. After setting the OVC's career marks for doubles and at bats in midweek action against Middle Tennessee, he hammered his 62nd career home run against Morehead State, tying for the all-time lead with former Golden Eagle great Zach Stephens. In the first inning of Tech's contest at No. 13 NC State, the senior slugger blasted a two-run shot to left field. The home run broke both the OVC's career marks for hits (331) and RBI (230). Now the Golden Eagles' all-time leader in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs scored, at bats, total bases, games played and games started, as well as the OVC leader in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, at bats and total bases, the center fielder is still within spitting distance of one more OVC mark.

     Current    OVC Record    Current Leader    School (Years)
Home Runs   62   62   Zach Stephens   Tennessee Tech (2011-14)
Runs   237   241   Bert Smith   Jacksonville State (2006-10)


Strohschein ranks as one of the most accomplished hitters, not just in Tech or OVC history, but among all current NCAA Division I players. The McDonough, Ga. native leads all active players in career home runs (62), RBI (246) and total bases (633). He also ranks in the top-five in hits (second with 356), doubles (second with 71), runs (second with 237), and at bats (third with 996).

How good and consistent has Strohschein been through his four career? Since the BBCOR bat standards were adopted in 2011, he is the only player to have played his entire career in the BBCOR era and rank in the top-five in the career categories of hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs, total bases and at bats. He is the era's all-time career leader in home runs, RBI and total bases (by a whopping margin over more than 75) and ranks second in hits and runs scored.

Sophomore Jason Hinchman has enjoyed a breakout campaign in his first starting role with the purple and gold, leading the OVC in home runs with an eye-popping 23 in 51 games. That's 43.4 percent of his 53 hits leaving the ball park. It's also good enough to rank the first baseman tied for the nationaly lead in long balls, tying Tulane's Kody Hoese and Vanderbilt's JJ Bleday  for a share of the lead. What's more astonishing, is the fact that Hinchman did not have a long ball through the team's first 10 games of the season. He has 23 round trippers in his last 41 games.

With a two-run bomb at Eastern Kentucky earlier this season, he became just the fourth player in program history to join the 20-home run club for a single season. Former Tech legend A.J. Kirby-Jones accomplished the feat twice, smacking 20 exactly in 2009 and setting the school record with 26 in 2010. The first member of the exclusive group was Jeremy Bonczynski, who smashed 20 long balls in 1997. The club's most recent addition was All-American Brandon Thomasson, who clubbed 22 in 2014.

Freshman John Dyer has raised many eyebrows in his rookie campaign, ranking as one of the best hitters in the Tech lineup, as well as the league. The Mt. Juliet native leads all OVC freshmen in hits (63), doubles (13), home runs (11), RBI (53), slugging percentage (.613) and on base percentage (.439). He also ranks second in batting average (.348), third in runs scored (41). Dyer ranks in the top-five in the league in RBI and slugging percentage, the top-10 in batting average and on base percentage and the top-15 in doubles.

The nation's reigning home run champ after smashing an OVC-record 135 dingers a year ago, it took the Golden Eagles a little time to get the bats rolling to start the 2019 campaign. The power is back on it Cookeville, however, as Tech enters the week having smashed a long ball in 27 of its past 30 contests. Over that span, the Golden Eagles have clubbed 68 dingers, with 19 games boasting multiple shots. Earlier in the season, Tech snapped a 17-game streak with at least one home run, easily ranking as a program record. In fact, the 2019 squad is the first in school history to hit double figures with the streak. Last year's record-shattering squad did it nine times in-a-row twice. On the year, Tech leads the OVC and the nation with 86 round trippers, the third-highest total in program history.

2019 Record: 22-29
2019 OVC Record: 9-18 (T-9th)
Head Coach: Justin Holmes
TTU: 22-29 (1st Season)
Career: Same

AVG: Kevin Strohschein (.377)
2B: Kevin Strohschein (20)
3B: Kevin Strohschein (2)
HR: Jason Hinchman (23)
RBI: Jason Hinchman (54)
R: Kevin Strohschein (56)
BB: Jason Hinchman (43)
SB: Jason Hogan (4)
ERA: Tyler Sylvester (3.68)
W: Andrew O'Dwyer (3)
APP: Daniel Holley (20)
IP: Mark Leonard (58.0)
K: Mark Leonard (57)
SV: Tyler Sylvester (3)

2019 Record: 21-29
2019 OVC: 9-18 (T-9th)
Head Coach: Ryan Jenkins
UTM: 32-69 (2nd Season)
Career: Same

AVG: Jordan Stoner (.335)
2B: Jordan Stoner (15)
3B: Sean Dixson (4)
HR: Blake Davis / Creighton Eldridge (9)
RBI: Blake Davis / Casey Harford (38)
R: Sean Dixson (32)
BB: Creighton Eldridge (28)
SB: Creighton Eldridge (8)
ERA: Zach Denney (2.59)
W: Winston Cannon (5)
APP: David Hussey (24)
IP: Sam Folks (77.2)
K: Winston Cannon (68)
SV: Nick Wohlbold (12)

Photo by Thomas Corhern