Junior Tim Kelley gave the Shockers nearly seven innings of quality work, allowing just two runs on four hits. The right-handed starter kept the Shockers in a game that stayed close until a crippling five-run top of the ninth.
The Shocker hitters were forced to battle the 6-foot-6 Chris Sale. The junior lefty racked up 11 strikeouts in six innings on the mound, but also surrendered two runs and five hits.
Senior catcher Cody Lassley led the Shockers with a 2-for-4 day that included an RBI double. The Eagles were led by shortstop Stephen Wickens' 3-for-4 performance and first baseman Zach Maxfield's solo blast.
The Shockers struck first off the hard-throwing Sale. With an out against them, freshman designated hitter Preston Springer extended his hit streak to six games when he drilled a line drive to right center. Lassley sent him to third with a double to the same spot. Freshman Johnny Coy did what it took, sending a ground ball to second base to send Springer to the plate.
Maxfield wiped out the Shockers 1-0 lead with a solo bomb to the left field bleachers in the top of the fourth. But Lassley and the Shockers were ready in their very next at bat. Senior second baseman Will Baez led off the inning with a single and hung out on the base paths for the next two outs before Lassley's sharp single up the middle drove him home, returning the lead to the Shockers, 2-1.
In the meantime, Kelley held the Eagles' batters down. Maxfield's bomb was the only hit allowed through six. He shut down their only other major threat when Wickens led off the sixth with a single. Kelley left him on third with consecutive strikeouts.
A pair of singles in the seventh ended Kelley's day, making way for reliever Logan Hoch. Unfortunately for the redshirt senior, walks overwhelmed his outing. After Luke Smierciak reached on a single earlier in the inning, Hoch walked him in with the bases loaded to tie the game, 2-2, ending Kelley's chance at the win. Hoch wrapped up the inning, however, and hung on to the tie game until sophomore Chance Sossamon came in to relieve him in the eighth.
Saddled with two inherited runners, Sossamon sat two Eagles down on strikes to end the threat. Sossamon couldn't repeat the performance in the ninth, however, as the Eagles batted through the order to put up a five-spot in their last at bat. Five hits and a pair of costly errors led to the big inning that handed the Shockers their first loss.
The Shocks will look to even the series in game two on Saturday at 2 p.m. Sophomore Jordan Cooper (1-0) is slated to take the mound for the Shockers while the Eagles will throw junior Ritchie Erath (2-0).