By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a lengthy, 12-inning contest on Saturday, the Tennessee Tech baseball team received just what the doctor ordered Sunday afternoon, as junior southpaw Alex Hursey tossed a complete-game shutout to lift the No. 21 Golden Eagles (40-6, 22-2) over Belmont (16-31, 10-17) 10-0 in Nashville.
The victory marked Tech's fifth shutout of the season as well as the team's seventh weekend series sweep of the year. The 40th win of the of the 2018 campaign for the Golden Eagle, it marked the fourth time in program history (all under head coach Matt Bragga) that the team hit at least 40 wins, including the first time during the regular season.
Hursey was methodical and used a brilliant defensive effort to his advantage in tossing his first complete-game shutout in the purple and gold. The JUCO transfer completed all nine innings of the contest with two strikeouts, zero walks and of course, zero runs allowed. He scattered 10 hits throughout the day, requiring just 104 pitches to earn his seventh victory of the season.
The Golden Eagle offense provided a lead early for the left-hander, jumping on the scoreboard in the first inning with the team's signature style, a home run. Junior Kevin Strohschein crushed his team-leading 15th long ball of the year to right center field to provide the 2-0 cushion that proved plenty on the day.
In the second inning, it was an RBI double to left field off the bat of senior Collin Harris that provided the brunt of the damage. Senior third baseman Trevor Putzig added an RBI single up the middle for good measure. Harris tacked on another RBI in the third, making it a 6-0 lead.
Both sides traded zeros on the board for a couple of innings, but the Tech offense had one last burst left in it for the day. In the sixth, the Golden Eagles took advantage of three Belmont miscues. Putzig laced a two-run single up the middle to kick off the scoring. Senior Chase Chambers finished it off with a two-run single to center field, providing a dominant, 10-0 advantage with Hursey dealing.
Putzig finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and three RBI while Strohschein drove in two as part of a 2-for-4 showing. Chambers gathered three hits in four at bats, driving two. Harris also tallied three RBI on his 2-for-5 showing.
With losses by both Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky over the weekend, the Golden Eagles clinched at least a share of their second straight Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship. Tech's last two league opponents this season are both the Colonels and Eagles.
The Golden Eagles will return to Nashville again on Tuesday, facing off against Vanderbilt in a 6:30 p.m. CT tilt at Hawkins Field.
Photo by Tony Marable