Baseball opening day pushed back to Saturday, Tech to kick off Steve Smith era against Evansville

Baseball opening day pushed back to Saturday, Tech to kick off Steve Smith era against Evansville

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Baseball Weekend Preview  (2/13)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech baseball team will have to wait one more day to christen the 2020 campaign, with Opening Day pushed back to Saturday due in inclement weather and field conditions. The Golden Eagles will now host Evansville in a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. CT at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex. Game two will follow approximately 45 minutes following the conclusion for the first contest with game three set for Sunday at 1:00 pm.

Because of expected inclement weather throughout the weekend, fans are encouraged to check social media and the website for more updates concerning this weekend's schedule.

Newly minted head coach Steve Smith will make his Golden Eagle debut in Saturday's contests after being named the program's 15th head man on Dec. 20, 2019. Smith spent 21 seasons (1995-2015) as the lead man at Baylor, compiling a 744-523-1 record, 13 NCAA Regional appearances, four NCAA Super Regional nods and a bid to the 2005 College World Series.

The Golden Eagles return a trio of big boppers to the offensive side of the diamond for 2020, led by All- Ohio Valley Conference First Team first baseman Jason Hinchman. The junior led the NCAA a season ago in home runs per game (0.44), hammering 24 for the second-most in program history. He paced Tech with 55 RBI and a .697 slugging percentage while scoring 54 runs and walking 43 times.

Senior Anthony Carrera also returns for his final season in the purple and gold after smashing a career-high 15 round-trippers in 2019. He drove in 40 runs and scored 49 more while turning in a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield. Following a rookie campaign that saw him earn a pair of Freshman All-American nods and a spot on the All-OVC First Team as a designated hitter, John Dyer will look to improve on his first season where he hit .330 with 11 home runs, 54 RBI, and 41 runs scored.

Following an injury-ravaged season, the Tech pitching staff will look to see what a season of health can provide for the 2020 campaign. Redshirt senior Alex Hursey, who missed most of the 2019 season with injury, will get the opening-day nod on Friday. He is expected to be joined in the rotation by sophomore Connor Adams and freshman Christian Herberholz.

Tennessee Tech (0-0) vs. Evansville (0-0)

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Saturday, Feb. 15, 12:00 pm | Cookeville, Tenn. | Bush Stadium (1,100) | STATS
TTU Alex Hursey (LHP)
1-0 | 5.60 ERA | 17.2 IP | 23 K | 17 BB*
- | - ERA | - IP | - K | - BB

Saturday, Feb. 15, 3:30 pm | Cookeville, Tenn. | Bush Stadium (1,100) | STATS
TTU Connor Adams (LHP)
2-2 | 9.90 ERA | 20.0 IP | 27 K | 26 BB
- | - ERA | - IP | - K | - BB

Sunday, Feb. 16, 1:00 pm | Cookeville, Tenn. | Bush Stadium (1,100) | STATS
TTU Christian Herberholz (RHP)^
- | - ERA | - IP | - K | - BB
- | - ERA | - IP | - K | - BB

* indicates 2019 stats prior to season-ending injury
^ indicates freshman

2019 Record: 22-32
2019 OVC Record: 9-21 (11th)
Head Coach: Steve Smith
TTU: 0-0 (1st Season)
Career: 744-523-1 (22nd Season)

AVG: John Dyer (.330)
2B: John Dyer (13)
3B: Anthony Carrera / John Dyer (1)
HR: Jason Hinchman (24)
RBI: Jason Hinchman (55)
R: Jason Hinchman (54)
BB: Jason Hinchman (43)
SB: Jason Hinchman (3)
ERA: Tyler Sylvester (3.45)
W: 7 players tied (2)
APP: Daniel Holley (20)
IP: Mark Leonard (63.0)
K: Mark Leonard (60)
SV: Tyler Sylvester (3)

2019 Record: 24-29
2019 MVC Record: 11-10 (T-4th)
Head Coach: Wes Carroll
UE: 287-322 (12th Season)
Career: Same

AVG: Tanner Craig (.284)
2B: Tanner Craig (14)
3B: Danny Borgstrom (2)
HR: Troy Beilsmith (7)
RBI: Tanner Craig (32)
R: Troy Beilsmith (42)
BB: Craig Shepherd (32)
SB: Troy Beilsmith (8)
ERA: Jake McMahill (3.00)
W: Nathan Croner (5)
APP: Michael Parks (27)
IP: Nathan Croner (82.0)
K: Nathan Croner (65)
SV: Michael Parks (6)

Photo by Tony Marable