Tech baseball expects talented pitching staff to be team strength

The Golden Eagle’s baseball team expects a quality year thanks to a strong and experienced pitching staff.

Like last year, Tech baseball was selected as third in the Ohio Valley Conference’s pre-season rankings. The two teams ranked above the Golden Eagles are Austin Peay and Jacksonville State University.

“We truly believe that any time we step on the field against anybody that we have a chance to win,” said Matt Bragga, Tech’s baseball head coach. “We have a very talented team, and as long as we play baseball like it should be played and do things fundamentally correctly, we’ll have a chance to be where we want to be at the end of the year.”

According to Bragga, the team has eight guys who can throw in the low 90’s and also pitch well.

Senior Matthew Shepherd and junior Tristan Archer will return as starters this year. These two pitchers combined for 10 wins and two complete games last year.

Shepherd was also named the OVC’s No. 5 prospect for the MLB draft by Baseball America this year.

Also returning as starting pitchers are junior Nick Price and sophomore Jake McWhirter, a duo that combined for eight starts and 34 appearances last year.

Freshman David Hess, who posted an 8-1 record with a 1.41 ERA in his senior year at Tullahoma High School, is expected to be a weekend starting pitcher. He was recognized this year by Baseball America as the OVC’s No. 3 newcomer.

The bullpen is anything but lacking for the Golden Eagles, with senior Cullen Park and sophomores Garrett Baugh, Justin Alexander and Andy Williams returning this season.

Last year, Park had a team-high 27 appearances with 64 strikeouts, which tied for team-best. Baugh was also a big contributor with a team-low 4.05 ERA with three wins.

Tech also acquired eight new arms this year including lefties Tanner Williams and Josh Bryant and righties Seth Lucio, Zane Morton, Robert Roach, Byron Skinner and Tyler Wilson.