Power surge: Long ball still name of game for Tennessee Tech
By ERIC OLSON
Feb. 26, 2018
It looks like the power is turned on again at Tennessee Tech.
The Golden Eagles homered a school-record 11 times in a 30-17 win over Illinois State on Saturday. That was three off the NCAA record set by Georgia Southern against Columbia in 2008 and the most since Belmont hit 12 against UT Martin in 2015.
"It was an anomaly. That's the best way to say it," coach Matt Bragga said Monday.
Tennessee Tech hit 99 homers last year to rank second to Wake Forest (106), and the Eagles have been in the top 10 nationally four of the past five years.
Bush Stadium in Cookeville, Tennessee, like most in the Ohio Valley Conference , is hitter friendly. On Saturday the wind was blowing out to right center at 15-18 mph, with gusts up to 24.
"Honestly, out of the 11, probably three or four were normal home runs at this park," Bragga said. "Probably six, seven, eight were definitely aided by the wind."
Three players who combined for 38 of last year's 99 homers are gone. Trevor Putzig, who had six last season, hit three on Saturday and four in the three-game series with Illinois State. Kevin Strohschein, who had 14 last season, also had three.
"This is an offensive league similar to the Big 12 in football," Bragga said. "That's what we do, and that's what we recruit to, and it's worked."
Cal State Northridge leads the nation with 20 homers — two more than Tennessee Tech — after hitting 13 in a three-game sweep of Manhattan.
"Our guys are going to look at that," a laughing Bragga said, "and think, 'Holy smokes, what do we got to do?' "
A look around the country:
Defending national champion Florida (7-1), which won two of three at Miami, remained No. 1 in the DivisionIBaseball.com and Baseball America rankings and slipped to No. 2 behind Oregon State in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll. Oregon State (8-0) has outscored its opponents 75-28. Texas Tech (7-0), No. 3 by D1Baseball.com, hasn't allowed a run in four games. Florida State (7-0), No. 3 by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, is off to its best start since the 2013 team opened 16-0.
Oregon State middle infielder Nick Madrigal , the 2017 Pac-12 player and defensive player of the year, injured his left hand or wrist while sliding into home in the eighth inning against Ohio State on Friday. An OSU spokesman said no update on Madrigal's status was expected Monday.
Washington's Joe DeMers pitched the school's first perfect game, and fifth in the Pac-12, in an 8-0 win over UC Riverside on Saturday. DeMers made 84 pitches, struck out nine and reached a three-ball count just once.
Other no-hitters: North Dakota State's Riley Johnson, in a 2-0 win over Central Connecticut State on Friday; Hofstra's Seamus Brazill, in a 1-0 seven-inning win over Lamar on Saturday; Jacksonville State's Colton Pate and Grant Chandler, in a 5-0 win over Radford on Saturday; and Stetson's Mitchell Senger, in a 3-0 win over George Washington on Sunday.
FSU FRESHMAN IS FINE
Freshman left-hander Austin Pollock, who joined Florida State's weekend rotation after All-American Tyler Holton was lost to a season-ending elbow injury last week, allowed one earned run on five hits in six innings against Troy on Sunday.
"I have to be honest, he's a lot different than I thought he would be," coach Mike Martin said. "I thought he would come over in the fall, be intimidated. Have not seen any of that. I knew he was good when I overheard some players talking, 'I can't see the ball off that guy.'"
Starters Cole Sands, Drew Parrish and Pollock combined to allow five runs (two earned) in 17 1/3 innings in the three-game sweep.
At 8-0, first-year coach David Esquer's Stanford Cardinal are off to their best start since 2012. Stanford followed a season-opening, three-game sweep of 2017 College World Series participant Cal State Fullerton with a midweek win over UC Davis and a four-game weekend sweep of Rice.
Associated Press Writer Joe Reedy in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.