By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the wind blowing out at Hawkins Field, the Tennessee Tech baseball team struggled to keep the No. 2 ranked team in the nation off the scoreboard Tuesday evening, falling to in-state rival Vanderbilt for the first time in three years, 21-10.
Boasting one of the nation's best offensive units, the Commodores (34-9) displayed that reputation throughout the night, pounding out 21 hits in the ball game, including four home runs. Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Vandy Boys, finishing the night with five RBI as part of a 4-for-5 showing with two long balls.
After Vanderbilt took a 6-0 lead in the first, the Golden Eagles (18-25) tallied their first long ball at Hawkins Field in the past 10 seasons to get on the board in the second, courtesy of freshman John Dyer. The rookie slugger crushed a laser down the left field line, clearing the 35-foot wall in left field for his eighth dinger of the season.
In the fifth, the Golden Eagles loaded the bases to lead off the inning, with freshman Jason Hogan, junior Anthony Carrera and senior All-American Kevin Strohschein each drawing four-pitch walks. Hogan dented home plate on a wild pitch for Tech's second run of the game.
Junior utility man Gavin Johns spun a single to third base to drive in another marker for the purple and gold. Dyer then reached on a fielder's choice, plating Tech's fourth run of the contest.
The Golden Eagles plated two more in eighth, starting with an RBI single through the left side by Dyer. Second baseman Nathan McMeans followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in Hinchman.
Strohschein drove in one more for Tech in the ninth with a fielder's choice to second base. Dyer put a bow on a fantastic night, driving in two more with a single up the middle to give him five in the contest.
Johns completed his sixth straight game with at least a pair of hits, finishing 2-for-5 while making his first career start at shortstop. Strohschein became the first player in OVC history to reach the 600 mark in total bases in a career, tallying two on the night.
Tech will get back to Ohio Valley Conference action Friday, May 3, making the trip north for a three-game series with Eastern Kentucky. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m. CT in game one.
Photo by Thomas Corhern