By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – Early defensive struggles hampered the Tennessee Tech baseball team Friday night at Earle Combs Stadium, as the Golden Eagles(14-20, 7-12) fell in their Ohio Valley Conference series opener against Eastern Kentucky (14-26, 8-14), 10-5.
A trio of miscues in the opening two frames by the purple and gold saw the Colonels take advantage on their home diamond, jumping out to a seven-run lead, with four of those markers unearned. The Tech bats provided a response in the third, with junior slugger Jason Hinchman ripping an RBI double down the left-field line after shortstop Ed Johnson led off the frame with a single through the left side.
Two batters later, senior Gavin Johns grounded out to second base, driving in another run for the Golden Eagles. Senior left fielder Cody Little John provided another lift for the Tech squad in the fourth, blasting a solo shot to right field to make it a 7-3 ballgame in favor of the home team. It marked his team-leading ninth round-tripper of the season.
The Colonels answered with a single run in the fourth and another in the fifth, turning it into a 9-3 contest headed to the sixth. Johns earned an infield single to lead off the inning, setting up Golston Gillespie for some more purple and gold fireworks.
The first baseman hammered the first pitch he saw to right-center field, clearing the wall for a two-run dinger. His seventh bomb of the year brought Tech to within four, but it would mark the closest his team would get the rest of the night. EKU added one more run in the seventh for the final 10-5 score.
Johnson and Gillespie led the Golden Eagle effort offensively, each accounting for three of the team's 10 hits. Both scored a run while Gillespie drove in a pair. Veteran southpaw Alex Hursey provided a nice, lengthy appearance out of the bullpen, completing the final three-and-two-thirds innings with just one run allowed on two hits and walk.
Game two of the series will kick off Saturday at noon CT, representing the first tilt of a doubleheader between the two programs. The finale is set to follow at approximately 3:00 p.m.
File photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information