By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – It was a tale of two contests for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday, as the Golden Eagles (15-21, 8-13) earned a doubleheader split with Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky at Earle Combs Stadium.
The Colonels (15-27, 9-15) took the first win of the day, claiming the series by defeating the purple and gold 9-3. The Tech offense flipped the script and then some in the second tilt of the day, leading the visitors to a 16-3 victory in a seven-inning contest.
The impact of the bats was immediate in game two, with the Golden Eagles jumping out to a three-run lead. Second baseman Brett Roberts started with an RBI single through the left side and was driven in quickly by an RBI triple to center field by first baseman Golston Gillespie. Designated hitter Gavin Johns made it three with a sacrifice fly to right field.
EKU gathered a solo home run to answer in the bottom half, but Tech got the run back in the top of the third. After a walk to Roberts and double by Gillespie, junior slugger Jason Hinchman sent a sac fly to center field for a 4-1 lead.
Again, the Colonels fought back, scoring twice in the bottom of third to pull within a single marker. The Golden Eagles kicked it into another gear offensively, starting with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Third baseman Gabe Lacy led off the frame with his second long ball of the year. Left fielder Cody Littlejohn followed later in the inning with a sac fly to center field, making it a 6-3 ballgame.
Tech scored four more times in the fifth, with right fielder Theo Bryant IV ripping a double to right-center field for a pair of RBI with two outs in the frame. Littlejohn doubled that output with a two-run single to right field. In the sixth, catcher Will Long drew a bases-loaded walk for an 11-3 lead.
Still not finished, the purple and gold dented home plate five more times in the seventh, starting with a two-run single off the bat of Roberts. After another run scored on a fielding error by the Colonels, Hinchman delivered one final blow with a two-run round-tripper to left field. It marked the sixth of the year for the junior.
Brock Myers earned his first win of the year with five innings of work out of the Tech bullpen, finishing the game with just two hits and one run allowed. The junior struck out a pair while issuing just a single free pass.
Littlejohn, Roberts and Hinchman each tallied three RBI in the contest with Bryant adding two more. Each of Tech's nine starters scored at least one run, with six denting the dish two or more times. Bryant and Gillespie both totaled three hits.
In game two, it was Eastern Kentucky taking an early 4-0 lead in the third inning. The Golden Eagles started a comeback bid in the fourth, with Littlejohn smashing his 10th home run of the season to center field to lead off the contest. Hinchman made it two runs with a sac fly later in the frame.
EKU got both runs back in the fifth and held Tech to just one run the rest of the way, an RBI single down the right-field line by Hinchman in the sixth. The Colonels added three more in the eighth for the 9-3 win.
The Golden Eagles return to Cookeville for a three-game, OVC series with Morehead State next weekend. The two rivals will play a doubleheader on Saturday, May 8 starting at 1:00 p.m. CT while game three will take place Sunday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m.
Photo by Eastern Kentucky Athletics