Tech falls to Morehead State, teams to square off Sunday for OVC Tournament title

Tech falls to Morehead State, teams to square off Sunday for OVC Tournament title

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

OXFORD, Ala. – There will be a winner-take-all match-up for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title Sunday afternoon, as the No. 18 Tennessee Tech baseball team (48-8) fell to Morehead State (36-24) at Choccolocco Park Saturday evening, 11-6.

The Eagle offense used five consecutive innings of scoring to gather an 11-3 lead, but the Golden Eagles would not go down quietly.

Redshirt freshman Grant Phillips was brilliant out of the bullpen, tossing four shutout innings without allowing a hit and walking just one. His incredible performance provided Tech the outlet to make things quite interesting down the stretch.

Still trailing 11-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Golden Eagle offense made its move. Junior Kevin Strohschein led off the frame with a single to center field. Senior Chase Chambers followed with a fielder's choice to second base, replacing Strohschein on the base paths.

John Ham made it two base runners for Tech with a single to right center field, both advancing a spot following a wild pitch. Senior David Garza brought in a run with an RBI ground out to third base, making it an 11-4 game. Junior Nick Osborne followed with an RBI single through the left side to cut the deficit to 11-5.

Trailing by six in the bottom of the ninth, senior Trevor Putzig went yard with his 15th home run of the season with one out, blasting a solo shot to left center field to make it 11-6. Back-to-back singles from Strohschein and Chambers gave the offense more life, but things became very interesting following a five-pitch walk to Ham.

Morehead State turned to Dalton Stambaugh with the bases loaded for the Golden Eagles, and the starter came through for the No. 3 seed, striking out two batters to close out the contest and end the threat.

Alex Hursey (7-4) was dealt the loss on the day, tossing four innings while allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits and three walks. He also punched out a pair.

Strohschein finished the contest 3-for-5 while hammering his 18th long ball of the season to left field. Osborne gathered two hits in four at bats, also connecting for a dinger, his 10th of the year. With his 10th home run, he became the seventh different Golden Eagle to reach the double-digit mark on the year.

Putzig's solo blast in the ninth inning represented Tech's 127th round-tripper of the season, tying the OVC's single-season record set back in 2002 by Morehead State.

The two teams will square off one more time to decide the 2018 OVC Tournament champion on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CT at Choccolocco Park. Tech will represent the home team again by virtue of its No. 1 seeding. Fans can follow the action live on the OVC Digital Network or on 106.1 The Eagle.

Photo by Thomas Corhern