On what would have gone down as a normal night with the Tennessee Tech baseball team claiming a normal win, things were far from normal. The Golden Eagles did collect their 29th victory of the season, dispensing Alabama A&M, 7-1, for the second time this year.
But the highlight of the night belonged to former Soddy-Daisy standout and Tennessee Tech senior Zach Stephens, as the first baseman forever entrenched his name among the Ohio Valley Conference elite with one swing of the bat.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Golden Eagles put two players on base thanks to walks garnered by juniors Jordan Hopkins and David Allen. Alabama A&M managed two outs before the second walk, looking to get out of the frame without any damage.
Stephens had other ideas. On the first pitch he saw, the slugger unleashed a three-run bomb just left of dead center field, giving the Golden Eagles a 7-1 lead and knocking two more records of his "bucket list." With the three-run shot, Stephens became the OVC's all-time career leader in both home runs and RBI, recording his 54th long ball and 211th RBI. A four-year starter, he truly joined a league of his own, breaking both records that had stood for over 30 years after passing Mike Williams of Western Kentucky in each category.
Already Tech's all-time leader in hits, total bases, home runs, and RBI, Stephens added to his career totals with an impressive day at the plate overall. He led the Tech offense with a 4-for-5 day at the dish, scoring two runs while driving in four.
Senior Daniel Miles added two RBI on the night, ripping a double in the first inning to help complete a 2-for-3 day with two walks. Fellow senior Zach Zarzour also put together a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored out of the leadoff position.
Evan Fraliex collected his second win of the season, tossing three innings in a predetermined "staff day" on the mound. The freshman struck out three batters while surrendering zero hits and two walks. Six other pitchers combined to finish the contest, combining to strike out seven more Bulldog batters on the night.
Closer Seth Lucio tallied the final three outs, striking out the first batter he saw before forcing Alabama A&M to ground into a game-ending double play.
The Golden Eagles will now focus on a crucial three-game series against OVC foe Jacksonville State. Tech will host the second-place Gamecocks beginning with a 6 p.m. CT contest on Thursday evening. The Golden Eagle Sports Network will broadcast each contest of the series on the OVC Digital Network.