By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – It was a split decision for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday in Cape Girardeau, as the Golden Eagles (12-16, 6-9) claimed a 9-1 victory at Southeast Missouri (18-15, 11-7) early before falling in the second contest of a doubleheader at Capaha Field, 7-2.
The bats were singing and backed by a dominant performance on the mound in game one of the day, with Tech racking up 11 hits on the way to a 9-1 win. Returning freshman hurler Ty Fisher was magnificent, taking a shutout into the ninth inning while keeping the Redhawk batters off balance all day.
The southpaw scattered six hits, two of which came in the ninth when SEMO finally snagged a run off the Golden Eagle pitcher. Fisher completed a career-high eight and one-third innings, issuing zero walks and striking out one while constantly repealing the Redhawk offense.
The youngster got plenty of support, with the purple and gold wasting no time putting a dent into the scoreboard. Some early small ball put Tech in front for good, as a lead-off single from shortstop Ed Johnson allowed senior Cody Littlejohn to bunt him over and put him in scoring position.
Second baseman Brett Roberts made it pay off, blistering an RBI single to left field for the early 1-0 Tech lead. With two outs in the frame, senior Gavin Johns kept the offense rolling with an RBI single to left field. Third baseman Gabe Lacy made it a trio of first-inning markers for the Golden Eagles, lacing an RBI ground-rule double to left field.
Tech kept the pressure on in the third, with junior slugger Jason Hinchman delivering a one-two punch. The center fielder punched a single to right field to drive in a pair, giving his squad a 5-0 lead. Later in the frame, Johnson made a 6-0 advantage for the visitors, drawing a bases-loaded walk.
Still not satisfied, the Golden Eagles tacked on three more runs in the fourth for good measure. After a quick out on the first pitch, Tech rallied to put a pair of runners on the corners. Johns came to the plate and produced a two-run double to right field.
Catcher Will Long made it a 9-0 Tech advantage with an RBI single, rounding out the offensive force for the game for the Golden Eagles.
Johnson, Hinchman and Johns each finished the contest 2-for-4, with Johns leading the way with three RBI. Eight different Golden Eagles tallied hits in the opening contest and six drove in at least one run.
In game two, the bats had a tougher time stringing together hits, collecting just five in the contest. SEMO jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first and tacked on three more in the third for the early advantage.
The Golden Eagles earned their first marker of the game in the sixth, with right fielder Theo Bryant IV leading off the inning with a single to right-center field. He promptly stole second base and moved to third on a ground out. Another ground-out, this one by senior Cody Littlejohn, drove in Bryant.
The Redhawks replied with another run in the seventh and two more in the eighth for a 7-1 lead. Roberts tried to kick start the Tech bats one more time in the ninth, uncorking a hefty swing on the first pitch of the frame for a solo blast to left field. The returning freshman's third home run of the season made it a 7-2 contest, but it would get no closer for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles wrap up a seven-game road stretch on Tuesday, Apr. 20 with an in-state battle with national-ranked Tennessee. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT in Knoxville.
File photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information