Baseball loses series to Bucknell

Straight Out of the Gate – Junior Chase Burkett delivers a pitch from the mound during his first start of the 2016 season for Tech. Burkett pitched for seven innings in Feb. 26 game against Bucknell. Photo by: Shea Haile

The Golden Eagles’ bats played a huge role in its 9-3 victory against Bucknell Friday. Feb. 26. Sophomore slugger Chase Chambers started the scoring for Tech with a two-run homer in the first inning.

The Bison responded in the fourth inning by scoring a run after a Tech error. The Golden Eagles added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Kevin Strohschein crossed home plate during a Jake Rowland groundout.

Tech held a slight 3-1 lead after four innings and extended the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Strohschein’s single allowed Jake Farr to score the first run of the half inning. Bucknell pitcher Andrew Andreychik walked Tech’s Matt Jones with the bases loaded which resulted in Golden Eagle catcher Chris Brown crossing home plate. Rowland was hit by a pitch during the next at-bat, which allowed Chambers to score from third. The last run of the inning came from a Matt Garza single to right field. Strohschein scored from third on the play. The Golden Eagles lead was 7-1 following a very productive fifth inning.

Farr scored on a fielder’s choice in the sixth. Another Strohschein single scored Trevor Putzig from second and gave the Golden Eagles a 9-1 advantage in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Bucknell had a late offensive spark in the bottom of the ninth. Spencer Stokes smashed a two-run homer to right field.

Tech’s Levi Wright closed out the game striking out Alex O’Neil for the final out of the game and secured a 9-3 win for the Golden Eagles

Chase Burkett had an impressive outing for Tech. Burkett pitched seven innings, had four strikeouts, gave up only three hits and relinquished no earned runs.

Strohschein had the best hitting performance for the Golden Eagles. The freshman from McDonough, Georgia was 3-for-4 at the plate and had two RBIs. The only home run for Tech came from Chambers.

Both teams struggled at the plate in game two of the series Saturday. Bucknell took the lead early. Joe Orgen scored after a Tech fielding error in the top of the first inning.

The Golden Eagles received their first run from Matt Garza, who had a solo shot home run in the second inning.

The Bison broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth inning after a pitch from Travis Moths got away from catcher Chris Brown. Jon Mayer scored on the play giving Bucknell the 2-1 lead. The Bison scored again in the sixth inning and extended their lead to 3-1.

The Golden Eagles responded with their last run of the game in the seventh inning. Chambers connected on a pitch for a solo home run making the score 3-2. The homer was also Chambers’ second of the series. Neither team was able to add a run in the last two innings.

Tech’s pitchers only gave up one earned run in the loss.

“I think we had one earned run today. We allowed a run on a passed ball. We allowed a run on a throwing error in the first,” said head coach Matt Bragga about the performance of the Golden Eagles pitchers. “So, they did a good job.”

Tech’s batters left 16 runners on base.

“Offensively, the game came down to how many guys we left on base,” said Bragga. “ I know we left the bases loaded four times.”

“That is too many. That is a veteran team over there [Bucknell]. They understand the game. They know how to play the game. You are not going to beat a good veteran team that plays solid baseball doing that. We have got to execute a little better offensively,” said Bragga.

Chase Chambers had his second home run of the series in the 3-2 and gave Tech one of its two runs in the game.

“They had been throwing me a lot of pitches outside,” said Chambers. “ I came into this year knowing a lot of teams would try to do that because that was one of my weaknesses last year. They left a couple pitches elevated. Definitely, good pitches to hit and I just drove them and did about everything I could do with them.”

Sunday’s conclusion to the series began slowly. Bucknell got on the board first in the fourth inning with two runs. The Bison added three more runs and gained a 6-0 advantage before the Golden Eagle bats came alive in the seventh inning.

Chris Brown’s homer resulted in two RBIs for Tech and closed the gap 6-2. Matt Jones sacrifice fly scored Strohschein in the same inning cutting the Bison lead to 6-3. Ryan Flick added a home run of his own in the bottom of the ninth. The two-run blast brought Tech within one.

Bucknell dashed Tech’s hopes of a come back on the next at bat. The Bison’s Danny Rafferty closed out the game with a strikeout of Matt Jones for the last out of the game.

Brown led the Golden Eagles in hitting for the series finale. Brown was 3-for-5 including a home run and two RBIs.

Evan Fraliex tallied the loss in his first start of the season. Fraliex pitched four innings and gave up five hits and struck out two.

The Golden Eagles will face the Vanderbilt Commodores Tuesday, March 1 in Nashville. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.