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Smiddy twirls complete-game shutout, Tech takes OVC opener at Lindenwood

Smiddy twirls complete-game shutout, Tech takes OVC opener at Lindenwood

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – For the third consecutive week, the Tennessee Tech baseball team received a stellar showing on the mound to help set the tone for the weekend, as Landon Smiddy twirled a complete-game shutout for the Golden Eagles in a 4-0, Ohio Valley Conference win over Lindenwood at the Lou Brock Sports Complex Friday evening.

After finishing 8.1 innings with a career-high 11 strikeouts two weeks ago against Western Illinois, Smiddy came out with an even better showing in St. Charles, Mo., producing his first complete game with nine frames of scoreless work. It led to the senior's third win in a Tech (21-13, 7-3) uniform.

The right-hander punched out 10 Lion (11-22, 4-6) batters on the night, scattering five walks and just three hits. Smiddy used 130 pitches to get through the contest, turning in the first complete-game, nine-inning shut piece since Alex Hursey tossed nine consecutive goose eggs up for the Golden Eagles in a 10-0 win at Belmont back on May 6, 2018.

The Tech offense helped provide an immediate lead for the standout performance of Smiddy's, starting with lead-off man Austin Turner. The left fielder ripped an 0-2 single up the middle before ripping off his 15th stolen base of the season to reach second.

Catcher Hayden Gilliland made it count, blasting an RBI double to left-center field for the first marker of the ball game. Second baseman Troy Baunsgard doubled the Tech lead in the second, sending a sacrifice fly ball to left field to plate designated hitter Mack Whitcomb, who singled through the left side to open the frame.

In the fourth, the purple and gold put together a little, two-out rally, loading the bases with a fielder's choice, a base hit by Baunsgard, and an error by the Lindenwood defense. First baseman Preston Ford delivered the critical hit, lacing a two-run knock to left field to make it a 4-0 Tech advantage.

It was all Smiddy the rest of the way, as the ETSU transfer worked himself out of a couple of jams to silence the Lions. Lindenwood put runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, looking to finally break through, but Tech's Friday guy responded by striking out back-to-back batters and forcing an inning-ending ground out.

He worked a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth before turning down another Lion threat in the sixth. After issuing a pair of one-out walks and gathering a second out, Smiddy plunked a Lindenwood batter to load the bases in a harrowing moment.

The veteran gathered himself and used three pitches to end the inning with his fifth punch-out of the night. He fanned the next two home batters as well to open the seventh and set down the second Lion of the eighth via the K after surrendering a lead-off hit.

A double-play ball took the Cookeville crew to the ninth and Smiddy took them the whole way. The Lions refused to go down without a fight, reaching on a walk to kick off the bottom of the frame. Smiddy delivered strikeouts No. 9 and No. 10 before Lindenwood gathered its third hit of the game to put two on. The senior's next offering did the trick, holding up in right field for a fly out to Theo Bryant IV.

Smiddy held Lindenwood hitless from the two-out mark in the first until the lead-off batter of the eighth. Four different Golden Eagles recorded two hits in the ball game while Bryant and center fielder Jackson Green each drew a pair of walks.

Game two of the OVC series is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. CT first pitch Saturday afternoon at the Lou Brock Sports Complex.

File photo by Jim Dillon

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