By Nathan Hutchinson
Special to the Register
The Eastern Kentucky University baseball team exploded for 18 runs to earn a convincing victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday afternoon at Turkey Hughes field. Four Colonels hit their first home runs of the season in the 18-7 win.
Austin Grisham, Alex Hughes, Matt Phipps and Steve Ferraro were the home run bashers which helped Eastern Kentucky (4-6, 1-1 OVC) put up season highs in both runs and hits (16). Hughes and Phipps went back-to-back in the fifth inning while Ferraro homered in his first at-bat of the season. Three of the four home runs were three-run shots.
Hughes, Phipps and Grisham, the bottom three in the EKU line-up, combined to go 7-of-12 at the plate with 11 RBIs and seven runs scored.
Phipps and Bryan Soloman each tallied three hits to lead the Colonels, while Hughes and Soloman each scored four runs.
The last time Eastern scored more runs in an OVC game was March 29, 2009 when the Colonels racked up 25 runs in a win over Morehead State.
EKU broke open the game with four runs in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. Tennessee Tech (7-6, 1-1) responded with three runs in the following frame, but the Colonels struck right back with five more runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull away for good.
Shane Grimm (2-0) earned the win on the mound for the Colonels as the lefty went 5.0 innings and allowed four runs.
Eastern and Tennessee Tech will wrap up their three-game series today. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Softball splits pair of games
CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Eastern Kentucky University softball team opened play at the Saluki Invitational with a 2-0 extra-inning win over UIC and a 9-1 loss to host Southern Illinois.
The Colonels now are 10-6 overall this season.
Sophomore pitcher Leanna Pittsenbarger (7-3) tossed her second complete game shutout of the season in the opener versus UIC (3-13). Pittsenbarger allowed just five hits over the eight innings. The righty escaped a bases loaded situation in the sixth and another jam in the seventh without any damage. She then retired the side in order in the extra frame.
Fellow sophomore Katie Tackett provided all of the offense against the Flames. She notched her third home run of 2013, a one-out, two-run shot in the eighth, to break the scoreless tie.
In the nightcap, Southern Illinois (10-9) jumped on top of Eastern with four unearned runs in the first. Senior Raquel Howes put EKU on the board with her third long ball this season in the bottom of the first, but that would be the Colonels’ lone run of the game.
The Salukis pulled away from Eastern with two runs in the fourth, another in the fifth and two more in the sixth inning.
The Colonels wrap up play at the Saluki Invitational tomorrow, March 10 with games against Wisconsin and Belmont.