Tigers Declaw Panthers
March 11, 2000
Memphis, Tn - After scoring a season-best eight runs and getting an excellent pitching effort from freshman Andy Whitten, the University of Memphis baseball team rolled over the Panthers of Eastern Illinois (1-7) on Saturday afternoon, 8-1. Whitten had a no-hitter going into the top of the fifth before giving up a single to right field. The Tigers are now 3-12 for the year and are looking to grab a couple more wins as they face Eastern again tomorrow in a double-header.
The Tigers got on track right away in the bottom of the first, after redshirt-sophomore Jay Fik hit a sacrifice fly to center field and scored sophomore center fielder Paul Reuer, who previously singled, to make the game 1-0. Memphis struck again in the bottom of the third, as senior designated hitter Nate Sams doubled and drove in Fik and sophomore second baseman Daniel Uggla, which increased the lead to three. The Tigers would get one more run in the third when senior right fielder Wes Crane singled to left, and drove in Sams from second base and Memphis led, 4-0. Eastern Illnois finally got on the board in the fifth, when Keith Laski scored off a single to right field by Andy Haines and the score was then, 4-1. That was the only run the Panthers would score in the loss, as the Tigers would answer right back in the bottom half of the inning. Sams drove in two more runs, as he singled over second base and drove in junior shortstop Gabe Interiano and Uggla to make the score 6-1, Memphis. The Tigers would add one more to their season-high total in the bottom of the eighth, as junior third baseman Tyler Shelton was hit by a pitch and incidently drove in Fik after a bases-loaded situation.
Offensively, Memphis was on-point with 10 team hits in 33 at-bats. Individually, Sams lead all batters going 2-for-3 with a double and a single scoring one run, drawing a walk and collecting four RBI. Uggla wasn't far behind going 3-for-4, with two singles and a double and scoring two runs. Fik went 1-for-2 while scoring two runs, drawing a walk and had one RBI.
Defensively, the Tigers were flawless with no errors committed and as a unit, the infield was supurb turning four double plays, one double-play shy of tying the school record of five in a single game.
On the mound, Whitten was excellent going a full seven innings and facing 25 batters. He allowed one earned run on three hits while walking four and striking out four, as well. Whitten is now 1-0 on the season earning his first career win as a Tiger. Coming in for relief duty were redshirt-freshman Joshua Cartwright and senior closer Sean Carlson who each went one inning in the win and each allowed one walk and struck out one batter a-piece, after each facing five batters.
Taking the loss for the Panthers was John Larson, who went four full innings and faced 23 batters. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five. Larson's record now stands at 0-2 for the year.
Coach Jeff Hopkins after the win said, "We had good pitching from the freshman Andy Whitten, who had an excellent performance. Defensively, we played very well, turning four double-plays almost tying a school record. We were much better in all phases of the game."
The Tigers take on the Panthers again tomorrow, Sunday March 12th, this time in a double-header format. The action begins at 12 p.m. at Nat Buring Stadium.