By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team dropped its Ohio Valley Conference series finale with Eastern Illinois Sunday afternoon, falling to the Panthers, 15-5, at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
Highlighting the contest for the Golden Eagles (11-12, 2-7) was a first-inning double from senior All-American Kevin Strohschein. The two-bagger to right center field represented the center fielder's 300th career hit, making him the first Tech baseball player ever to record 300 hits. Strohschein also became just the fifth player in OVC history to reach the 300-hit plateau.
Much like the first two games, the EIU offense set the tone of the contest early, scoring multiple runs in the third and fourth frames, before plating six unearned runs in the sixth. The Panthers totaled 18 hits in the contest, the third straight game of the series with at least 12.
The contest saw its fair share of long balls with the wind blowing steadily and heavily to the right side of the ball park all game. EIU (11-11, 5-4) collected five on the day, including a trio of wall scrapers. Tech earned one dinger in the contest after clubbing six on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles struggled early against EIU hurler Foster Anshutz, as the southpaw held Tech scoreless with just three hits through the first five frames.
Things clicked for the purple and gold in the sixth, however, with Strohschein gathering a one-out single through the left side. Sophomore slugger Jason Hinchman followed with a two-run blast to right center field, putting Tech on the board with his ninth home run of the season.
Next up, freshman John Dyer ripped a single up the middle. Two batters later, Cody Littlejohn laced a single to right center field, putting runners on the corners. A fielding error at shortstop allowed a run to score and junior Gavin Johns to reach safely. Then sophomore infielder Hunter Higdon plinked an RBI single into shallow left center field, making it a four-run frame for the Golden Eagles.
Earning the start on the day was senior Ty King, who tossed a scoreless first with a strikeout and pick off at first base. He was lifted prior to the second as part of a planned one-inning start.
With no midweek action on the docket this week, the Golden Eagles will return to play Friday, Mar. 29. Tech will travel south to kick off a three-game OVC series at Jacksonville State, with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT.
Photo by Tony Marable