In 2017, the Tennessee Tech offense was a sight to behold, as the team hit .317/.389/.520 collectively as they bashed their way through the OVC Tournament, scoring 38 runs in three games, and into the Tallahassee Regional, their first postseason appearance since 2009.
Along the way, as noted in a school release after the regional brackets were announced, they set program records for runs scored (495), hits (698), extra-base hits (248), total bases (1,151), home runs (97), and RBI (453). Sure, the OVC is a notorious hitter’s league, but those types of numbers, plus scoring ten or more runs 22 times in a single season, is impressive in any conference in Division I baseball.
It’s terrible, no good, very bad news, then, for the rest of the OVC that the Golden Eagles will get many more of their biggest bats back for the 2018 season.
The returning group is led by Trevor Putzig, who is the definition of an offensive spark plug. Last season, he hit .394/.441/.568 with 23 doubles, six home runs, 52 RBI, and an even 22/22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Also back is hulking first baseman Chase Chambers, who hit .299/.399/.582 with 11 doubles, 18 homers, and 61 RBI.
Then, there’s Collin Harris, who hit .325/.397/.555 with ten doubles, ten homers, and 37 RBI, to go along with a team-leading 13 stolen bases and power bat Kevin Strohschein, who hit .292/.351/.511 with 12 doubles, 14 home runs, and 61 RBI. Combined with his freshman season totals of 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 73 RBI, Strohschein has put up back-to-back incredible seasons to begin his TTU career.
Also back is First Team All-OVC shortstop David Garza, who contributed by hitting .293/.382/.377 with 12 doubles and ten stolen bases, but he also masterfully handled a premium defensive position, committing just five errors for a .980 fielding percentage. And don’t forget Alex Junior, who hit .323/.405/.429 with five homers and 35 RBI. Nick Osborne is another player to watch in 2018. He had just 43 at-bats in 2017, but he made them count, as he collected five doubles and two home runs.
That’s a stout group, even before you take into consideration that others will undoubtedly step up into bigger roles and produce. Just about every team in the OVC can hit, but Tennessee Tech was on another level in 2017, and with so many players returning in 2018, it looks like it will be more of the same.