By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
TROY, Ala. – An early lead wasn't enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team to claim victory in its first road contest of the 2018 season Friday night, as Troy (6-4) defeated the Golden Eagles (5-3) at Riddle-Pace Field, 10-7.
Troy answered with run in the bottom of the first with a single run, then took the lead for good in the bottom of the second with a three-run triple with two outs.
Trailing 6-3 headed into the fifth, the Golden Eagles made a valiant comeback bid, turning to Tuesday's breakout star Cody Littlejohn. Coming off a career contest in which he slugged three doubles and a grand slam to drive in eight runs, the sophomore pinch hit with a runner on and two outs.
After falling behind in the count, 1-2, Littlejohn cracked his second home run of the season, a two-run blast to right center field. The dinger pulled Tech to within a single run with four frames to play.
The Trojans responded, however, scoring four unearned runs in the bottom half of the frame to jump back ahead 10-5. Relievers Tyler Sylvester and Zack Wilcox ended the offensive threat of the Trojans over the final three innings, combining to allow just a single baserunner while striking out two and giving the Golden Eagles a chance.
The Tech offense attempted one more comeback attempt in the top of the eighth, gathering a baserunner with a walk to catcher Brennon Kaleiwahea. With two outs, Putzig returned to the batter's box, looking for one pitch to attack.
The third baseman found what he was looking for, turning on a 1-1 offering and depositing a 2-run jack job over the left field fence. The long ball, which marked Putzig's team-leading fifth of the season, cut the deficit to just three.
Troy closed things out in the ninth, however, inducing a game-ending double play with the tying run at the plate.
Putzig led the team on the night with a 3-for-5 performance featuring two runs scored and three more RBI.
The two teams are set to square off in the second game of the series at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Photo by Tony Marable