Baseball’s struggles continue with two midweek losses

The Tennessee Tech baseball team traveled to Asheville as they prepared to face the University of North Carolina Bulldogs.

Tech was down early in the bottom of the first, after a two RBI single by UNC, but the Bulldogs put up one more run in the inning to make it a 3-0 game at the end of one.

The score remained 3-0 until the bottom of the third when UNC senior infielder Tommy Houmard singled through the right side, scoring Kyle Towles from second, making it 4-0 in favor of Asheville.

Things didn’t seem to improve for Tech in the fourth when Asheville scored three more runs, making it 7-0 going into the fifth inning.

The bats finally woke up in the top of the sixth for Tech, when Anthony El Chibani tripled to right center, scoring Ryan Flick and Jordan Hopkins, putting Tech on the board with 7-2.

The Golden Eagles ended the top of the sixth scoring three more times with an RBI single from Adam Reed. Freshman Johnny Carpenter scored on a wild pitch, and Jake Farr reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Reed.

That marked then end of scoring for Tech; their rally ultimately fell short, losing to UNC 7-5. The Golden Eagles were led in hitting by sophomore outfielder Anthony El Chibani who went 2-3 on the evening with two RBIs.

The Bulldogs were led by their senior infielder Kyle Towles, who went 3-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. UNC freshman Jordan Fulbright went five innings and allowed five hits and no runs.

Tech’s starting pitcher, Austin Tolle, suffered the loss, making his record 0-2 for the season. The loss put Tech’s record at 10-12 for the season.

The Golden Eagles were back in Cookeville for a game Wednesday night when Tech hosted Alabama A&M. Tech earned its first run when David Allen scored on an error by Alabama A&M second baseman Justen Folger.

In the top of the second inning, Alabama A&M shortstop Julio Nunez homered to right center, tying the game at 1-1. The Bulldogs scored two more runs in the inning, making the score 3-1 going into the bottom of the second.

Tech could not get the bats going in the bottom of the inning, keeping the score 3-1 going into the third inning. The Bulldogs’ continued their hitting success in the top of the third, starting with a single to centerfield by Justen Folger, scoring Julio Nunez. The Bulldog’s Dustin Dhanani reached base on a fielder’s choice, scoring Dylan Payne. Brandyn Crutcher singled through the left side, scoring Trae Nelson.

The Bulldogs would score one more time in the top of the inning to make the score 7-1. Golden Eagle starting pitcher Will Gardner finished his out start with 2.2 innings pitched with five earned runs and eight hits allowed.

Tech would try to rally in the bottom of the third, starting with a double to left center by Chase Chambers. Chambers would score on a single to left center by Ryan Flick, making the score 7-2.

There was nothing going for the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth as Golden Eagle relief pitcher Trevor Maloney shut down the side with zero hits and zero runs, keeping the score 7-2. Tech started off the bottom of the inning with Adam Reed getting hit by a pitch and a score from a Josh Pankratz triple. Andrew Contreras grounded out to second base, scoring Pankratz from third. The score was now 7-4.

The top of the fifth inning was more of the same for Alabama A&M as Trevor Maloney once again shut down the Bulldogs, allowing zero runs and hits. The Golden Eagles could not capitalize on the scoreless inning by the Bulldogs, so the score remained 7-4 going into the top of the sixth.

The Bulldogs would tack on one more run in the top of the sixth, which made the score now 8-4. Tech would manage to get one more run in the bottom of the inning thanks to the triple by Matt Cunningham, who would later score the run on a single up the middle by David Allen.

Tech woudn’t score another run in the game, and Alabama A&M would score one more in the top of the ninth to make the final score 9-5. Tech was led in hitting by Chase Chambers, Josh Pankratz and Matt Cunningham, who had two hits each. The Bulldogs were led in strong hitting performances by Justen Folger who was three for five with a run scored and two RBIs. Patrick Dawson added three hits and an RBI.

The winning pitcher for Alabama A&M was Ryan Ahrens, who improved his record to 5-1 on the season with two innings pitched and allowing two hits, one run and one strikeout. Tech starting pitcher Will Gardner took the loss, making his record 0-2 on the season going 2.2 innings allowing seven runs, five of them earned with eight hits.

With the win, the Bulldogs’ record improved to 16-10, while the Golden Eagles record falls to 10-13 on the season. The Tech baseball team will be back on the road March 27 when they take on the Austin Peay Governors in a three game series at Austin Peay.