By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A late rally fell just short for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (8-3) were edged at Jackie Robinson Ballpark by Bethune-Cookman, 5-4.
The Wildcats (7-3) snagged the initial lead in the contest, gathering a run in the bottom of the first inning following an RBI double down the left field line.
Tech quickly answered in kind in the top half of the second, crossing the plate three times. Junior Ryan Flick led off the frame with a first-pitch single ripped to third base. Fellow junior Chase Chambers took a slightly longer approach with his at bat, coaxing out five pitches before walloping a single through the right side.
Senior catcher Chris Brown worked a full count prior to a bases-loading single, giving Tech a chance at some runs. Tech snagged its first run of the frame on a double play ground ball that the Wildcats traded for the two outs. Junior Trevor Putzig came through in his at bat, however, singling up the middle for an RBI and 2-1 lead. The third baseman then scored on an error in the outfield to send Tech to a 3-1 advantage.
Bethune-Cookman got one back in the third with a two-out RBI single, but did the necessary damage to take the lead in the fifth. Despite a blistering wind blowing 20 miles per hour straight in, BCU lined a two-run shot just over the fence in left field to take the lead.
The home team then mustered a highly important insurance run in the seventh to go up 5-3. Tech worked the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, driving in one on an RBI single to left field from Putzig. The relief pitching held up for the Wildcats, however, sneaking out of the frame with no more harm done and setting up the team for a 1-2-3 ninth inning to even the series.
Flick, Brown and Putzig were the leading forces on offense for Tech, with Flick boasting a 3-for-5 day with two runs scored. Brown also snagged three hits in four trips to the plate while Chambers and Putzig each tallied two hits apiece. Putzig posted both Golden Eagle RBI on Saturday.
On the mound, Jake Usher took the tough loss, tossing six innings while allowing seven hits and four earned runs. Kit Fowler finished the final two frames for Tech, allowing just two hits and an earned run.
The rubber match of the series will commence Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.
Photo by Tony Marable