By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MOBILE, Ala. – Too many missed opportunities with runners on base proved the difference maker for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles fell twice to South Alabama in doubleheader action at Stanky Field. The Jaguars defeated Tech 8-1 in game one and 7-3 in the second contest.
Tech stranded a total of 24 runners in its pair of contests against the Jaguars, including 13 in the first contest of the day. The Golden Eagles loaded the bases on two separate occasions early in the contest, but failed to bring home a run in either situation.
After two quick outs to the start the game, Tech rallied with a double, hit-by-pitch and walk to fill the bases in the first. A foul out to first base ended the first threat, and South Alabama pounced on the momentum shift.
The Jags smashed a pair of home runs and drove in three runs in the first, then followed it up with a another run in the second to take a 4-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles seemed to have an answer in the fourth, with junior Anthony Carrera kicking off the frame with a single to center field. Freshman John Dyer followed with a four-pitch walk and junior John Elford loaded the bags with his own bloop single to center.
South Alabama starter Drake Nightengale rallied, using 10 pitches to record three straight strikeouts to get out of the frame unscathed. The Jaguars added a run to its lead in the fourth and three more for good measure in the seventh.
Tech collected its sole run of the first contest in the sixth, a solo home run off the bat of Elford, the catcher's first of 2019.
In game two, Tech was the first to strike on the scoreboard. Following a quick out, shortstop Jay Meuse laced a double to left center field. All-American outfielder Kevin Strohschein followed, ripping his own double to left field for an RBI.
In the third, Tech's lone error of the contest proved costly. South Alabama tied the contest with a solo home run to center field with one out. The next batter reached on the Golden Eagle miscue, sparking what would become a two-out rally that finished with a three-run home run and 5-1 lead.
The purple and gold answered in the fifth, with Meuse kicking off the action with a single to left center field. Later in the frame, with runners on first and second, first baseman Jason Hinchman connected with the first pitch he saw and ripped it down the left field line for an RBI. Elford followed with his own single, a chip shot through the right side that drove in another Tech run.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Jaguars responded with a pair of their own, recapturing the four-run edge. That lead would hold for the remainder of the contest.
On the day, Meuse led the Tech offense with four hits in nine at bats, scoring twice. Strohschein and Elford each recorded three hits as well.
The two teams will square off in the series finale Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT as redshirt freshman right-hander Connor Adams looks to lead the Golden Eagles to their first road win of the season.
Photo by Tony Marable