Wallace's Three RBI Helps Memphis Avoid Sweep
March 20, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis avoided a sweep by Eastern Illinois with an 11-7 victory over the Panthers at FedExPark on Sunday. The U of M improves to 11-6 on the season while Eastern Illinois drops to 3-12 on the year.
A lead-off single by Drew Martinez got the Tigers off to a good start on the day. Martinez stole second, advanced to third on ground out to second by Phillip Chapman. Chad Zurcher collected his 13th RBI of the season with a grounder to short, but Martinez was able to score on the play to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Following a walk to Jacob Wilson, T.J. Rich belted a home run to right centerfield to give the Tigers at 3-0 lead.
After Eastern Illinois hit a solo home run in the second, the Tigers would answer with their fourth tally of the day. Back-to-back singles by Rick Russell and J.D. Wallace followed by a sacrifice bunt by Ethan Gross advanced runners to scoring position. Martinez hit next and collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right field to give Memphis a 4-1 lead.
Memphis turned its second double play in the first four innings, but the Panthers scored three runs with two outs in the fourth to knot the game at 4-4. Thoma started the two-out rally with a double and scored on an RBI-single by Shawn Ferguson. Daniel Rowe drove in two more runs with an RBI-single to left field.
In the fifth, the U of M regained the lead on the heels of three walks by Panther pitching. Following a two-out single by Wilson, three-straight Memphis batters were walked to allow Wilson to score and make the lead 5-4. J.D. Wallace blew the game open with a three-RBI double down the right field line to give the Tigers an 8-5 lead.
EIU scored a run in the top of the sixth to make the Tiger lead 8-5, but the U of M answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs. A lead-off walk and a hit by pitch to start the inning gave the Tigers runners on first and second with no outs. Zurcher laid down a bunt and beat a high throw to the bag. The throw got away and allowed two runs to score and give Memphis a 10-5 lead. Adam McClain singled up the middle to drive in another run in the inning, the Tigers seventh run of the day with two outs.
Clayton Gant (3-1) earned the win on the mound for Memphis, pitching six innings. He allowed five runs on nine hits and struck out one. Michael Wills worked a scoreless seventh for the U of M and Ben Paullus allowed two runs in the ninth, but pitched the final two innings for the Tigers. Christian Slazinik (0-4) took the loss for EIU after he allowed four runs on five hits in three innings of work.
Wallace paced the Tigers at the plate with a double and a 3-for-4 day at the plate and three RBI. Each batter in the Tiger lineup picked up a hit and Martinez, McClain and Russell had two hits each for Memphis.
Memphis plays its next five games away from FedExPark as they travel to North Little Rock, Ark., for a match-up with the Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Dickey Stephens Park and the two squads meet at AutoZone Park on Wednesday.