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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Tech splits double dip with Davidson, walks off Wildcats in game two

Tech splits double dip with Davidson, walks off Wildcats in game two

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A day of ups and downs ended on a high note for the Tennessee Tech baseball team Saturday, as the Golden Eagles split a series-opening doubleheader with Davidson at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

Tech (11-8) fell in a tough one in the opener, a 6-4 decision that took 10 innings to decide the outcome. The purple and gold bounced back in game two, topping the visiting Wildcats (7-11), 12-2, in a seven-inning, run-rule affair.

Game one proved to be a heartbreaker for the Golden Eagles, as the Wildcats used a pair of solo long balls in the top of the ninth to send the game to extras. It was a pitcher's duel early, with Landon Smiddy completing 5.0 innings with just one earned and two total runs allowed.

The right-hander fanned seven Wildcats along the way while holding the visitors to just four hits. Brody Lanham and Drew Mattox combined to complete three scoreless frames out of the bullpen, each punching out one batter.

Davidson took an initial lead in the fourth, plating an unearned marker with a sacrifice fly. Tech responded in the bottom half as junior Tanner Shiver kept his hot play rolling. The reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year hammered a solo blast to right-center field for his fourth round-tripper of the year to square things at 1-1.

The Wildcats scored again in the fifth to take a 2-1 advantage, one that seemed destined to hold behind an impressive performance by starter Wilson Perkins. The righty limited Tech to just one run on seven hits through seven frames, striking out six with zero walks.

Behind the brilliant showing from the Golden Eagle pen, Shiver played hero for the purple and gold in the bottom of the eighth when the Wildcats went to their bullpen. The Maryville, Tenn. native belted a three-run jack to right field, giving the Cookeville crew a 4-2 lead. It marked his second dinger of the game and fifth of the year.

The visitors delivered their own heroics in the ninth, starting with a pinch-hit, lead-off homer to right field. Down to its final strike, Davidson received another solo shot down the right-field line to tie the game again at 4-4.

Tech threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting a pair of runners on with two outs, but the Wildcats escaped the threat. Davidson then scored twice in the 10th on a two-run single to move out front 6-4.

The purple and gold gave it one more effort, loading the bases with two outs, but the Wildcats secured the win with a strikeout looking.

Shiver led the Tech attack, finishing 3-for-5 with all four RBI and a pair of runs scored. Designated hitter Preston Ford tallied four hits in the contest while left fielder Austin Turner produced a pair of knocks.

Game two saw starting hurler Peyton Calitri deliver a complete game while absolutely shoving, completing all seven frames for the Cookeville crew with just two runs allowed. The senior right-hander scattered seven hits while striking out eight without issuing a single walk. He moved to a team-best 3-0 on the year while giving Tech plenty of room to operate offensively.

The Golden Eagles got started in the second, with center fielder Nicho Jordan smashing a lead-off jack to right field for the early, 1-0 lead. First baseman Preston Ford made it a 2-0 advantage later in the frame, hammering a solo dinger to right field.

Davidson threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with a trio of singles, but Calitri stood tall and held the visitors scoreless in the inning. Shiver continued his spectacular day in the bottom half of the frame, destroying a 1-0 offering to left field for his third bomb of the day and sixth of the year.

The Wildcats finally got on the board in the top of the sixth, courtesy of a lead-off dinger to right-center field on the first pitch of the frame. The purple and gold answered, with Shiver providing the first response with an RBI double down the right-field line. Shortstop Preston Steele followed with an RBI single to left field.

In the seventh, Davidson picked up its second run with another solo homer to right field, but that would be it for the contest as the Golden Eagles rallied to end the contest in the bottom half for their third walk-off in the last six games.

Second baseman Troy Baunsgard kicked off the scoring with an RBI single to left field, with a second run scoring on an error. Catcher Hayden Gilliland followed with an RBI base knock to second base and was followed, two batters later, by another RBI double courtesy of Shiver.

An infield, run-scoring hit by Steele made it a 10-2 lead for the Golden Eagles. Two wild pitches allowed both Shiver and Steele to dent the dish to end the contest and cap a seven-run inning with five hits.

Shiver ended the contest 3-for-4 with three ribbies and three runs scored while Jordan and Steele each tallied a pair of base hits. Steele drove in two as well while Jordan scored three times.

The third and final contest of the series is slated for a 1:00 p.m. CT first pitch at the Quill Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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