The Tennessee Tech baseball team put a stamp on a successful Ohio Valley Conference opening weekend Sunday afternoon, splitting a doubleheader at in-state rival Austin Peay to clinch the road series.
The Govs (3-10, 1-2) took the first game of the day, using a pair of three-run innings to do the damage in a 6-2 win. Tech (5-5, 2-1) answered back with a vengeance in the second contest, erupting for a 12-0 victory in seven innings, clinching the team's first OVC series victory on the road since taking two-of-three at Southeast Missouri Apr. 19-20, 2019.
The purple and gold kicked off the scoring on the day, using an RBI single from returning freshman Brett Roberts to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Austin Peay scored three times in both the third and fourth frames, jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Tech snagged one more run on a wild pitch in the sixth, but the Govs put a stop to any hope of a rally.
Junior hurler Brock Myers was sensational out of the bullpen for the Golden Eagles in the first match-up, striking out a career-high eight batters. The right-hander covered the final four and one-third innings for his pitching staff, allowing just two hits and one walk.
The offense that flashed its muscles in the series opener on Saturday returned to form in game two on the day, not wasting a minute in putting Tech in position for the win. With two outs in the first, junior Jason Hinchman singled through the left side, setting up Golston Gillespie for some fireworks.
The sophomore first baseman hammered a two-run shot to center field for the early 2-0 Tech advantage. It marked his third home run of the series and the third of his blossoming Golden Eagle career.
The round-tripper proved to be plenty for southpaw Ty Fisher to work with on the hill, as the returning freshman turned in an absolute gem. The Dalton, Ga. native tossed seven scoreless innings, earning the complete-game shutout while scattering four hits. He struck out five Govs while issuing zero walks to earn his second victory of the year.
Fisher has now tossed 12-straight scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles, having completed five without a marker on the board against North Alabama last week in a Tuesday win.
While the two-run shot from Gillespie proved plenty, it didn't mean the purple and gold was satisfied with stopping there. And the team proved that.
In the fourth, Preseason OVC Player of the Year Jason Hinchman smashed his first long ball of the year to left-center field for a 3-0 lead. An inning later, sophomore Gabe Lacy uncorked his first home run as a member of the Golden Eagles down the left-field line.
A Cody Littlejohn single set up shortstop Ed Johnson for an RBI double, also down the left-field line. Second baseman Brett Roberts kept things rolling with an RBI single to center field and followed it up by stealing second and advancing to third on an error. With Roberts just 90 feet away, Hinchman took the opportunity to drive him in, sending a sac fly to center field for a 7-0 Tech lead.
Still not done with their scoring on the day, the Golden Eagles batted around in the seventh. Roberts drove in a pair thanks to a double to right-center field and Hinchman made sure his teammate had his own travel orders for home plate by ripping a triple to right field.
A pair of walks loaded the bases, allowing John Dyer to drive in a run on a ground out to shortstop. Next in line, Luke Jones smacked an RBI single through the left side, rounding out the Tech scoring effort on the day.
Roberts and Hinchman led the way offensively for Tech in the second game, with Hinchman falling just a double shy of the cycle. He finished 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored. Roberts also collected three RBI while posting two hits and two runs in four trips to the plate.
The Golden Eagles will return to action Tuesday, Mar. 16 with a quick trip down to Florence, Ala. Tech will square off with North Alabama in a 5:00 p.m. CT rematch of last week's midweek tilt in Cookeville.