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Golden Eagles cruise to 8-1 win to sweep season series with in-state rival Lipscomb

Golden Eagles cruise to 8-1 win to sweep season series with in-state rival Lipscomb

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In what has become the newest tradition for the Tennessee Tech baseball team this season, the Golden Eagle pitching staff dominated while leading the way to an 8-1 victory over in-state rival Lipscomb Tuesday evening at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.

The Tech (26-15) bats provided pressure all game long against the Bisons (13-26), eventually breaking through in the fifth and the sixth to back up a brilliant combined effort on the mound from a quartet of hurlers. Senior Matt Gelorme led the way on the hill, covering the first four innings of the contest with one run allowed on just one hit. He also struck out four batters.

Rookie Drew Mattox took over for the Cookeville crew in the fifth, racking up a quick zero thanks to a pair of strikeouts surrounding a ground out. The Golden Eagle offense finally broke through in the fifth, sparked by a lead-off double off the bat of left fielder Austin Turner.

Second baseman Troy Baunsgard followed with a base knock to center field, setting up catcher Hayden Gilliland for the first monster hack of the game. The senior backstop answered the call, hammering a three-run blast to right field for his team-leading eighth home run of the year. The round-tripper also represented the 25th of Gilliland's career, moving him into sole possession of 16th on Tech's all-time rankings for long balls.

Far from finished in the frame, first baseman Preston Ford flipped a base hit up the middle to start everything over again for the home purple and gold. Third baseman Tanner Shiver followed with a blistering base hit to center field. He followed his knock by stealing seventh base of the season.

Right fielder Theo Bryant IV took his turn at the dish, watching the first three offerings miss their marks. After taking a called strike, the slugger smashed a three-run jack to right field, circling the bags for the fifth time this season to give Tech a 6-0 lead.

Mattox followed the Golden Eagle outburst on offense with another scoreless inning of work in the sixth, fanning one more batter along the way. He eventually picked up his third win of the season for his two-inning effort out of the bullpen.

Turning things back over to the offense, the Cookeville crew put the pressure on again in the bottom of the sixth, with Ford drawing a lead-off walk before Shiver was plunked with a pitch. A change on the mound by the Bisons paid no dividends, as Bryant continued his hot night by slapping an RBI single through the right side.

Shiver advanced to third base on the play, and eventually came home to score courtesy of a balk by the Bisons. The run improved the lead to 8-1.

Jack Erdman covered the seventh and eighth frames for the Golden Eagles, scattering two hits while piling up three strikeouts. Senior Andrew Guardino finished things off with a spotless ninth, inducing a ground out and fly out before punching out the final batter of the game.

The Golden Eagle pitching staff allowed more than four batters to come to the plate just once after the first inning. Tech also allowed the Bisons to reach second base just once after the first frame.

Bryant paced the Tech offense with a 3-for-5 day and four RBI while Gilliland added two hits and three ribbies in five trips to the plate. Freshman designated hitter Mack Whitcomb also tallied a pair of knocks while five other Golden Eagles added a hit.

Tech will now hit the road for an Ohio Valley Conference series at UT Martin this weekend, kicking action off Friday evening in a 5:00 p.m. CT tilt in Martin, Tenn. Game two is slated for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch on Saturday while Sunday's finale will begin at 1:00 p.m.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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