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Calitri dominates, Tech rolls to 15-0 shutout of Morehead State

Calitri dominates, Tech rolls to 15-0 shutout of Morehead State

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – If you've ever had one of those days when everything just seems to go your way, you could relate to the Tennessee Tech baseball team and its performance at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex, a dominant, 15-0 victory over Ohio Valley Conference rival Morehead State.

A pristine presentation of pitching by Peyton Calitri powered the purple and gold on one side of the diamond while a barrage of barrels by the Tech bats battered the visiting Eagles (17-13, 4-4) all day. In just two hours and 11 minutes, the Golden Eagles (18-13, 5-3) slapped together 20 hits, 15 runs, and eight extra-base knocks while surrendering just four hits in the shutout.

Calitri set the table for the feast, setting retiring the side in order in the top of the first on the power of a pair of punch-outs. The Tech offense instantly went on the attack and never looked back.

A base hit by left fielder Austin Turner, a walk to second baseman Troy Baunsgard, and another base knock by catcher Hayden Gilliland loaded the bags in the blink of an eye. First baseman Nicho Jordan made it pay off, slapping a run-scoring single to right field.

Designated hitter Preston Ford continued the trend with a seed to right-center field to plate another run. Tech's third run of the ball game crossed on a double-play ball before right fielder Theo Bryant IV made it a 4-0 Golden Eagle lead with an RBI, infield single to third base.

Calitri turned around and swiftly set down the side numerically again, securing two more swinging strikeouts. For good measure, the Golden Eagle bats stepped in to provide even more insurance for their starter, racking up another six runs.

Center fielder Jackson Green set the tone, smashing a solo, lead-off blast to left field for his second home-run trot of the season. Morehead appeared to be on its way out of trouble after gathering a pair of quick outs, but the purple and gold had much more to show.

Gilliland ripped a double to right-center field before Jordan drew a six-pitch walk. Eliciting a pitching change, Tech continued to roll anyway with Ford following with an infield knock to third base. Shortstop Tanner Shiver peppered a shot through the left side for two ribbies and a 7-0 lead.

With the train already rolling, Bryant just fed more fuel to the fire by lacing a two-run double down the right-field line. Unsatisfied, third baseman Eddie Garza dropped a ground-rule double into right-center field to score one more in the inning and make it a 10-0 Tech advantage.

The third inning allowed Calitri to continue to show off, as the senior struck out the side to bring his K tally up to seven for the ball game. Ford increased the Golden Eagle lead to 11-0 in the bottom half of the frame with an RBI double down the right-field line.

Tech's offense picked up two more runs in the fifth after Calitri spun two more shut-out frames, with Ford again delivering. The senior singled softly to second base to plate the team's 12th run of the game. Making it a baker's dozen, Shiver shot a run-plating triple down the right-field line, his third three-bagger of the year.

Morehead State finally produced a scoring threat in the sixth with a pair of hits, but Calitri worked his way around it. The Tech ace retired the final eight batters he faced, setting down the side with one strikeout in each of the seventh and eighth frames.

Calitri ended his incredible performance with eight shutout innings of work, scattering three hits and a walk while fanning 10 Morehead batters. He also earned his league-leading fifth victory and now leads the OVC with a 2.04 ERA and 53.0 innings pitched.

Tech tacked on two final markers in the eighth, beginning the frame with a double off the wall in left field by Bryant. Garza followed by pulverizing a two-run jack to right field for his second round-tripper of the year.

Ford led the Golden Eagle offense with a 4-for-5 day, three RBI, and two runs scored. Bryant finished with three hits and three ribbies while scoring twice while Shiver drove in a trio of runs on two hits.

Garza also plated three runs, using a pair of extra-base knocks to do his damage. Green, Turner, Baunsgard, and Gilliland all tacked on multi-hit efforts, with Baunsgard scoring three times along the way.

Rookie Juan Vargas finished off the joint shutout with a scoreless ninth frame.

With the series knotted at 1-1, the rubber match of the weekend will get started at 1:00 p.m. CT at the Quill on Sunday afternoon. Admission to all Tech home baseball games is free of charge.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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