Pitching Carries @MemphisBaseball Past Western Michigan in Season Opener
Feb. 14, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Freshman RHP Nolan Blackwood and junior RHP Bryce Beeler allowed just four hits over the final 4.2 innings to help the University of Memphis baseball team (1-0) to a 3-2 victory over Western Michigan (0-1) in the season opener Friday night at FedExPark.
Memphis roared back from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh to take a 3-2 lead and senior co-captain Ethan Gross spurred the effort. Gross walked to start the inning, reaching base for the third time, stole second and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman centerfielder Darien Tubbs.
Senior third baseman Drew Griffin was hit by a pitch after Gross stole second. A wild pitch moved both runners to scoring position and Griffin advanced to third on the sacrifice fly. Senior second baseman Zach Willis drove in Griffin with a single to centerfield and the Tigers grabbed the 3-2 lead.
The Tigers got on the board in the sixth, scoring an unearned run on a fielder's choice. Sophomore right fielder Jake Little reached on an error and raced to third on a single by junior first baseman Tucker Tubbs. Junior left fielder Kane Barrow picked up an RBI as he beat out the throw to first on a potential double play. Barrow was thrown out on an infield fly to end the inning, but the Tigers cut the lead to 2-1.
Western Michigan leftfielder Steve Buglione helped the Broncos to a 2-0 lead after five innings. Buglione belted a solo home run down the right field line to make it 1-0 in the second. He picked up his second RBI of the night in the fifth as he reached on a fielder's choice to plate Theo Piccirilli from third.
Senior right-hander Jon Reed started on the mound for the Tigers. Reed pitched 4.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits while walking three and striking out one. Blackwood was effective in relief and earned the win as he allowed no runs on four hits in 3.2 innings of work. Beeler earned the save in his first career appearance on the mound.
Gross paced the offense as he reached base four times in the game via three walks and a single. Tucker Tubbs reached three times off of two walks and a single.
Memphis returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. (CT) with game two of the series at FedExPark.