Wills' Complete Game Lifts Tigers Over Arkansas State 7-1
March 20, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Michael Wills allowed one unearned run on four hits in a complete game effort and Memphis (9-11) pounded out 11 hits in a 7-1 victory over Arkansas State (11-9) on Tuesday at FedExPark.
Memphis came into Tuesday's game having outscored their opponents 17-5 in the first inning and the trend continued as Eli Hynes provided a RBI single to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Ethan Gross walked and Zach Willis followed with a single through the left side of the infield to set the table for Hynes. With one out in the inning, Hynes ripped a single to left-center for his team-leading 21st RBI on the year.
Back-to-back one out doubles by Derrick Thomas and Ford Wilson helped Memphis to a 2-0 in the second. The Tigers have struggled to score with two outs early this season, but Adam McClain helped the cause as he drove in two runs with a bases loaded single to center to increase the lead to 4-0.
The Tigers stranded two runners in scoring position in the third, missing on the opportunity to extend the 4-0 lead. Jacob Wilson started the frame with a bunt single down the third base line and T.J. Rich doubled down the right field line to put the two runners in scoring position with no outs. Chris Kerwood, the third ASU pitcher of the night, struck out the next two batters and recorded the third out in the inning on a groundout to short.
Arkansas State mounted a scoring threat in the fourth, loading the bases with two outs in the stanza. Anthony Hecht hit a leadoff single and two fly outs put two outs on the board. Logan Uxa walked after being down 0-2 in the count and Daniel Short was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wills jumped ahead 0-2 in the count to Alex Potts and Potts went down swinging on the 2-2 pitch to end the frame.
Memphis scratched across a run in the fifth with the help of a bases loaded passed ball to take a 5-0 lead. Hynes reached after being hit by a pitch and Jacob Wilson followed with a single to right. Rich laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to scoring position, but ASU's fifth pitcher of the night, Tyler Winfield, struck out the next Tiger batter for the second out. Ford Wilson walked to load the bases for Keaton Aldridge and Winfield's 1-0 pitch got past catcher Stuart Levy allowing Hynes to score.
The Tigers stretched the lead to 7-0 on the heels of back-to-back home runs from the middle of the order. McClain hit a two-out solo home run down the left field line and Hynes followed with a blast to right center field. It was the second time this season that the Tigers hit back-to-back jacks in a game.
Arkansas State ended the Tigers 17.1-inning streak without allowing a run to score as Levy belted a double to left center to drive in the Red Wolves first run of the game. Uxa reached on an error to start the inning and later scored on the RBI double by Levy.
Wills recorded his third quality start of the season with 123 pitches and earned his first win on the year. Arkansas State used eight different pitchers and starter Cody Woodhouse allowed one run on two hits in the loss.
McClain and Hynes paced the Tiger offense with two hits each and Memphis out-hit Arkansas State 11-4 on the game. With two hits Tuesday, McClain has recorded two or more hits in six-straight games and 12 of 20 games this season.
The Tigers face Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the final game before Conference USA play opens this weekend at FedExPark.