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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Tech completes OVC sweep of Western Illinois

Tech completes OVC sweep of Western Illinois

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Another collectively huge day at the plate and a fantastic performance out of the bullpen carried the Tennessee Tech baseball team to a 12-8 win and weekend sweep of Ohio Valley Conference foe Western Illinois Saturday afternoon at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

The Leathernecks (6-18, 2-4) actually got on the scoreboard first on the day, scoring an unearned run on an RBI single following a passed ball. Tech (16-12, 4-2) answered back in the opening frame, plating a run on a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of first baseman Nicho Jordan.

Western Illinois jumped back on top in the second, utilizing a lead-off double and home run just inside the right-field foul pole to take a 3-1 lead. It took until the third, but the Golden Eagles responded again, this time with ferocity.

With runners on the corners and one out, catcher Hayden Gilliland ripped an RBI double down the right-field line to cut the deficit in half. Jordan picked up his second ribbie of the day with a ground ball to first base, squaring the contest at 3-3.

On the next pitch, shortstop Tanner Shiver blasted an RBI double to center field to give the Cookeville crew the lead for good. Right fielder Theo Bryant IV continued the momentum with a run-scoring base knock through the left side.

Putting an exclamation point on the frame was third baseman Eddie Garza. The sophomore turned on an 0-1 offering, uncorking a three-run long ball off the batter's eye in center field. It marked his first round-tripper of the year and gave Tech an 8-3 lead.

Continuing the offensive trend in the fourth, left fielder Austin Turner and second baseman Troy Baunsgard delivered back-to-back bunt singles to second base on back-to-back pitches. With the pair on, Gilliland slashed an RBI double down the left-field line to move things forward.

Jordan turned in his third RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, pushing the Golden Eagles into double figures on the scoreboard. Shiver followed with a sac fly of his own down the right-field line, moving Tech out front 11-3.

In the sixth, the Leathernecks attempted one last surge to get back in the ball game, using five hits to plate five runs in the sixth and pull back within three. Jaxson Pease took over on the hill in the seventh for the purple and gold and completely shut down the visitor's offense the rest of the way.

For good measure, center fielder Jackson Green belted a solo jack to right field in the eighth, the first home run of his Golden Eagle career. Pease faced just nine batters over the final three frames, walking one and abruptly picking up a double play to eliminate the base runner.

The right-hander finished with two punch-outs and secured his first save of the year. Rookie Drew Mattox earned his first collegiate win after completing three innings of relief, allowing three runs while fanning one.

Jordan and Garza led the Tech bats with three RBI each while Gilliland turned in a four-hit day with two runs and two ribbies. Green and designated hitter Preston Ford delivered two hits as well.

Tech returns to the Quill Tuesday evening, playing host to in-state rival Middle Tennessee in a 6:00 p.m. CT affair.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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