By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
RALEIGH, N.C. – Early leads weren't enough for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday, as the Golden Eagles fell in a pair of contests at No. 12 nationally-ranked NC State. The Wolfpack defeated the purple and gold 8-2 in game one and 10-3 in game two.
Playing its second doubleheader in as many weeks to open the season, Tech (3-2) took a 1-0 lead in game one of the day, thanks to an RBI double off the bat of senior third baseman Gavin Johns. The Wolfpack answered in the bottom half and took the lead in the second, 2-1.
Tech evened things up in the top of the third frame, this time using the team's niche trait, the long ball. Leading off the frame, freshman shortstop Brett Roberts hammered a 1-0 offering to left-center field for a solo shot and his second round-tripper of the year.
The Wolfpack opened things up in the fourth, using a pair of home runs to drive in three. They followed with single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth to win the first contest 8-2.
Roberts and Johns each tallied a pair of hits in the contest to lead the Tech offensive effort. Senior southpaw Alex Hursey struck out five in four and one-third innings, surrendering five earned runs. Rookie Ty Fisher tossed a scoreless frame in the seventh.
Much like the first contest, game two began with the Golden Eagles on top in the first inning. Roberts set the pace by crushing the second pitch of the game to left field for his second dinger of the day and third of the year for a 1-0 lead.
Again, NC State was quick to respond, using a sacrifice fly in the bottom half to tie the game. Inning three proved to be the difference-maker, as the Wolfpack put up five runs on the power of a grand slam and RBI double to take a 6-1 lead.
Junior first baseman Jason Hinchman led off the fourth inning with his own solo blast, sending a 1-2 offering clear past the wall in left field for his sixth round-tripper of the year. NC State gathered two more runs in the bottom half of the frame, however, extending the lead to 8-2.
Hinchman earned his second RBI of the game in the fifth, ripping a double down the left-field line to drive in Roberts, who had singled earlier in the frame. The Wolfpack added single runs in the sixth and eighth to finish with a 10-3 win to claim the series.
Offensively, Hinchman finished 3-for-4 with the pair of RBI while Roberts totaled a pair of hits in five trips to the plate. Connor Adams was dealt the loss after surrendering seven runs in three and a third innings on the hill. Junior Jacob Parham completed the final two innings with just a single, unearned run allowed on one hit.
Tech will wrap up its series with No. 12 NC State Sunday, with first pitch in the contest scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT in Raleigh, N.C.
Photo by Jaylynn Nash