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Calitri dazzles again, offense shines in 10-2 Tech win over Redhawks

Calitri dazzles again, offense shines in 10-2 Tech win over Redhawks

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Yet another spectacular display on the mound from Peyton Calitri and a hefty attack with the bats led the Tennessee Tech baseball team to a clutch, 10-2 victory over Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri Saturday afternoon at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

The victory earned the Golden Eagles (24-15, 9-5) another tie for first place in the OVC standings with both the visiting Redhawks (20-19, 9-5) and Little Rock (21-17, 9-5). It also tied the weekend series with SEMO at 1-1, setting up a critical rubber game Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. CT at the Quill.

Calitri was once again incredible on the hill for the purple and gold, carving his way through six shutout innings and eight total to help give Tech all the room it needed to earn the win. The two-time OVC Pitcher of the Week looked every bit the part on Saturday, scattering six hits and a walk while striking out eight Redhawk batters.

Securing his league-leading seventh win of the year, Calitri allowed just one earned run, and two runs total, while lowering his season ERA to a minuscule 1.85. He set the tone right from the first batter, securing the first of his eight punch outs on the day and working a 1-2-3 inning.

The Tech offense immediately rewarded their ace in the bottom of the first, providing all the room the senior would need to work the rest of the contest. Despite a double play ball to open the frame, the Cookeville crew grinded its way to a big inning.

Catcher Hayden Gilliland kickstarted the two-out rally, peppering a single through the right side. Designated hitter Nicho Jordan followed with a laser to right-center field for a knock before first baseman Preston Ford drew a seven-pitch walk to load the bags.

Falling behind 1-2 in the count, right fielder Theo Bryant IV never faltered in his approach, smashing a line drive over the wall in left-center field for a grand slam and 4-0 Tech lead. Calitri piled up two more Ks in the second inning before the bats added to the lead in the bottom half.

A four-pitch walk to left fielder Austin Turner and a base hit to center field by Troy Baunsgard set things up. Gilliland brought them both to the plate after slashing a two-run double to left-center field, increasing the advantage to 6-0.

Two more strikeouts in the third, three relatively quick outs in the fourth, and another three-up, three-down showing in the fifth kept a clean sheet intact for Calitri before his offense continued its onslaught. Ford drove in the first run with a hustle double to left-center field. Two more scored in the frame thanks to a fielding error at shortstop, bumping up the lead to a solid nine runs.

Following another swift three outs via the work of Calitri, the Golden Eagles snagged one more marker for the day. Turner lifted a base hit out into left field and then swiped second base. It marked the senior's 18th stolen base of the year and 26th of his career, moving him into the top-25 career charts in program history. He came around to score later in the frame on a double-play ball.

Calitri fanned the first two batters of the seventh and appeared to have his third on a 50-50 call that resulted in a ball. One pitch later, the Redhawks instead ripped a double down the right-field line. That followed with another double for the first run of the game.

Heading back out to the hill for the eighth, Calitri allowed a one-out single and his only walk of the contest before earning the second out with a line drive to third base. Tech attempted to double up a Redhawk runner at second base, but a pair of throwing errors ended up allowing an unearned run to cross the plate.

Brody Lanham finished off the ninth for the purple and gold, pitching around a lead-off single with back-to-back punchies and a pop-up to first base.

Bryant led the Golden Eagles attack in the contest, finishing 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBI. Both second baseman Troy Baunsgard and Gilliland recorded multiple hits in the tilt, with Gilliland driving in a pair and scoring twice.

Turner scored twice as well while securing two walks, upping his season total to a whopping 43. He moved into a tie for ninth for the most free passes in a single season in school history, tying Jason Hinchman's total from 2019. He also moved into a tie for sixth in school history in career walks with Alex Junior, boasting 116 to his name.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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