OXFORD, Miss. - Tennessee Tech upset no. 4 Ole Miss 3-2 Monday night to cap a whirlwind 24 hours that started in heartbreak and ended with a third straight win and the school’s first ever baseball regional title.
The host Rebels held on for a 9-8 victory over the Golden Eagles in a winners bracket game Sunday evening, but Tech bounced back to edge Missouri State 2-1 and then won two games against Ole Miss Monday.
The first was a 15-5 drubbing backed by Chase Chambers’ four RBI day that included a towering home run. John Ham also drove in three in support of Ethan Roberts, who threw 7.2 brilliant innings against the SEC’s top offense on just a day’s rest.
That performance set up a winner-take-all nightcap that was more of a pitcher’s duel. Devin Lancaster went 5.2 innings allowing just two runs while matching the Ole Miss staff. The two runs came in the top of the sixth and put the Rebels on the board first, but Tech answered immediately in the bottom half of the inning on Trevor Putzig’s two-run home run to left field. His 17th home run of the season tied the game 2-2.
But not for long. After Nick Osborne sent the Rebels down quietly in the top half of the inning, Kevin Strohschein broke the tie with a sacrifice fly deep to right in the bottom half of the inning.
Osborne shut the door from there. He allowed just three runners to reach base in three innings of relief. Grae Kessinger’s pop up to second base ended the game and sparked a wild dogpile celebration from the Golden Eagles.
Tennessee Tech (52-10) leads the nation in wins behind the nation’s most prolific offense. The Golden Eagles top the NCAA in runs scored, home runs, doubles and slugging. But their pitching also came up big in Oxford. Alex Hursey, Roberts and the combined staff effort Monday night pitching them into a Super Regional after having their backs against the wall for the first time this season.
The Golden Eagles will now meet no. 13 national seed Texas in a best-of-three Super Regional next weekend in Austin. The days and times will be announced after all regional play is completed.
That can wait. It’s time to celebrate in Cookeville.
This one of a kind team is definitely worthy of the praise.