By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A long day at the ballpark went in favor of visiting Austin Peay Friday evening, as the Tennessee Tech baseball team fell to their in-state rival in Ohio Valley Conference play, 11-4, at Quillen Field and Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex.
The Governors jumped out to an early lead, plating a pair in the second inning on a two-run double. Tech answered back in the bottom of the third, squaring things at 2-2.
With shortstop Ed Johnson on first base and two outs in the frame, third baseman Gabe Lacy kept the inning alive by lacing a double to right-center field. The perfectly placed ball put a pair in scoring position for Jason Hinchman.
The left fielder immediately ripped a double to left-center field on the first pitch he saw, driving in both Johnson and Lacy to tie the game. With the two ribbies, the senior slugger passed Ryan Flick for sixth on the program’s all-time career charts.
In the top of the fourth, lightning was detected in the Cookeville area, bringing a quick halt to the ball game with one out and a runner on second. Continued lightning and eventual rain created a two-hour, 13-minute delay, with play not resuming until 9:10 pm CT.
Coming out of the break, Matt Meadows took over on the hill for Tech getting out of the jam with a ground out and strikeout. The Golden Eagles then took over the lead with one might swing.
In the bottom of the fourth, catcher Hayden Gilliland uncorked a hefty hack on the first pitch he saw, smashing a solo bomb to right-center field. It marked his fourth round-tripper of the season and gave Tech a 3-2 lead.
Austin Peay answered with three runs in the fifth, including a two-run home run. Tech had one more response on the night, with designated hitter John Dyer getting plunked on a full count with the bases loaded, driving in a run. Tech trailed just 5-4.
The Govs snagged another two-run big fly in the sixth, moving out by three. The visitors added four more runs in the eighth with a pair of RBI doubles and one final two-run dinger.
Right fielder Ryan Guardino and center fielder Austin Turner each tallied multiple hits for Tech while Lacy led the way with a pair of runs scored. Hinchman drove in two to lead the team.
Game two of the series is slated for a 2:00 pm CT start Saturday afternoon at Quillen Field. With inclement weather, including rain, a possibility this weekend, fans should check TTUSports.com and Tech social media periodically for updates concerning and changes to the schedule.
Photo by Emily Armstrong