Two Out Rally Lifts Memphis Past Illinois State 5-2
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A two-out rally in the seventh inning lifted Memphis (1-2) to 5-2 victory over Illinois State (2-1) on Sunday at FedExPark. Carter White and Bryce Beeler both had two hits and an RBI in the game helping Memphis to its first win of 2013.
After stranding the bases loaded in the sixth, Memphis used a leadoff walk to spark a rally. Austin Hatfield took the walk, moved to second on a balk and third on a sacrifice bunt. The Redbirds threw out Hatfield at the plate, but Zach Willis reached on the play and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Carter White drove in the go-ahead run with a single to left and he stole second and later scored on a double by Tucker Tubbs.
The two-out offense continued in the eighth as Ford Wilson drilled a single up the middle to increase the Tigers lead to 5-2. Drew Griffin was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt to start the inning. Hatfield reached for the second time in the game on a throwing error allowing Griffin to move to third with two outs. Wilson hit next and drilled the single up the middle for his first RBI of the season. The Tigers threatened in the sixth as White hit a single through the right side and advanced to third on a hit-and-run with Beeler at the plate. Beeler dropped in a double to left field with White running on the play. Memphis had two in scoring position with one out, but a strikeout put two outs on the board. A walk loaded the bases, but Redbirds reliever Will Headean got a fly out to end the inning.
Junior college transfer Alex Gunn made his Memphis debut on the mound as the starter and he dazzled out of the gate. The southpaw retired the first eight batters he faced, the last via strikeout. Marshall Vallandingham tripled down the right field line with two outs in the third, but Gunn left him stranded at third with a fly out to end the inning.
Memphis didn't register its first hit until the fourth inning, but the hit drove in a run to give Memphis a lead. The second Illinois State error of the afternoon put leadoff man Zach Willis on and Carter White drew a walk to put two on with nobody out. Willis stole third and White advanced to second on a wild pitch. Wills scored on a Bryce Beeler infield single and White scored the Tigers second run on an infield single by Drew Griffin.
Jon Reed came in to pitch the top of the fourth and retired the side in order, but Reed faced trouble in the fifth. Back-to-back singles put two runners on with nobody out. A pickoff throw to first was errant allowing Kyle Stanton to score from second. Mike Hollenback moved to third on the error and scored to tie the game at 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Brock Stewart.
Reed pitched five innings and allowed just the two runs in the fifth. He struck out the side in the eighth after the Tigers grabbed the lead in the seventh to earn his first win for Memphis. Reed struck out five and walked none. Jonathan Van Eaton had a three up, three down ninth for the save, his first of the season.
The Tigers were led by two hits from Beeler and White and out-hit the Redbirds 7-3. Four different Tigers registered RBI in the game.
Memphis continues the seven-game homestand when Arkansas State visits FedExPark on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. matchup.
Game Notes - Game marked No. 2500 for the U of M since legendary batboy Stan Bronson became bat boy in 1958 ... LHP Alex Gunn made his first career start for Memphis while RHP Jon Reed made his first appearance. Both are JUCO transfers ... LF Zac Carter made his season debut and is the third different leftfielder used in three games ... Memphis issued no walks for the first time since May 19 of last season at Houston. The Tigers had walked 12 batters in the first two games of the series.