Memphis' Seventh Inning Rally Clinches Series Win over Missouri
Feb. 23, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -A three-run seventh inning completed Memphis' (3-3) comeback over Missouri (0-5), Saturday at FedExPark. Missouri starter Brett Graves had a perfect game through four and a third innings before Memphis scored one in the fifth and three in the seventh for the comeback.
Memphis got its first base runner with one out in the bottom of the fifth with the assistance of a Missouri error at third base. Catcher Keaton Aldridge followed with a double to deep right-centerfield to put two runners in scoring position for Memphis. Jake Little hit next and singled through the left side of the infield to get Memphis on the board at 3-1. Colton Simbeck followed with runners on the corners and he grounded to third. Aldridge tried to score, but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Memphis scored three runs in the eighth to grab a 4-3 lead, the first big inning of the season. Bryce Beeler worked a leadoff walk and moved to third on a one-out single by Keaton Aldridge. Aldridge moved to scoring position on a wild pitch and Little walked to load the bases. Simbeck worked a walk to plate a run and cut the deficit to 3-2 and an error at first base allowed the tying run to score. Ford Wilson drove in the go-ahead run with a single to left, but Memphis left the bases loaded in the inning after taking the 4-3 lead.
Senior pitcher Heith Hatfield entered the game in the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff single to Missouri. A double play erased that leadoff single and Hatfield retired the next 11 batters he faced to pick up the win. In the process, he tied his career high with eight strikeouts, including striking out the side in the seventh inning.
After having two hits in the series opener, Missouri wasted no time getting in the hit column as Sal Belfonte singled up the middle to start the game. A wild pitch moved Belfonte to second, but Memphis starter Erik Schoenrock got the batter out with a fly out. Schoenrock struck out the next batter, but a wild pitch on the strikeout allowed Belfonte to move to third with two outs in the inning. Schoenrock escaped the first inning jam with a pop fly to first.
Missouri used back-to-back singles to start a rally in the second inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out. Missouri gained the lead with a passed ball allowing a run to score, but Schoenrock later struck out the batter to have a runner on third with two outs. A grounder to short resulted in a throwing error allowing a second unearned run in the inning to score; resulting in a 2-0 Missouri lead after two innings.
The two-out damage continued in the third for Missouri as the visiting Tigers gained a 3-0 lead. Kendall Keeton doubled to left-centerfield with one out and came around to score on a two-out RBI single by Keaton Steele.
Schoenrock left two runners stranded in the fourth, but the Memphis defense helped him immensely in the fifth. Dan Opel singled with one out in the inning and Steele lifted a high fly ball to the gap in left-centerfield. Memphis leftfielder Jake Little tracked it down and made the over the shoulder catch. Little teamed with shortstop Ethan Gross on the relay throw to first to turn the double play.
Memphis added on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to set the final score of 5-3. Beeler led off the frame with a single and reached second on an error after Drew Griffin laid down a sac bunt. Beeler moved to third on the play and scored on a fielder's choice with Keaton Aldridge at the plate.
Aldridge paced the Memphis offense with two hits and three other Tigers recorded hits. Five different Memphis players recorded RBI in the game with Ford Wilson having the game-winning RBI single.
With the win, Memphis clinched its first series win over an SEC foe since sweeping Tennessee in 1981. Memphis goes for the sweep on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. at FedExPark
Game Notes - Memphis started the same three outfielders in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Jake Little recorded the fourth outfield assist of the season with the double play in the top of the fifth inning. Keaton Aldridge recorded his fourth career double in the bottom of the fifth. Memphis collects its first series win over SEC foe since 1981 (Tennessee). Memphis wins back-to-back games for the first time this season.