Tigers Strand 14 in 7-3 Loss to No. 12 Arkansas
March 23, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - While 5,127 spectators made their way to AutoZone Park for Memphis' second game of a home-and-home with No. 12 Arkansas, the Tigers couldn't capitalize on 14 stranded base runners, ultimately falling to the visiting Razorbacks, 7-3.
After dropping both ends of the mid-week non-conference series with the Razorbacks, Memphis falls to 11-8 overall; Arkansas improves to 17-4.
Memphis started the scoring in this one, with a Jacob Wilson sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning, scoring senior Phillip Chapman, who had reached on a one-out single, advanced to second on a Chad Zurcher walk and stole third. Freshman Sam Moll started on the mound for Memphis and cruised through the Arkansas order for the first three innings, not allowing a hit and striking out four of the first nine batters.
Moll ran into trouble in the Razorback half of the fourth, however. After walking two and retiring two, Moll couldn't find the strike zone, putting Jake Wise and Kyle Atkins on via walks, the second of which brought in James McCann for Arkansas' first run of the evening.
Moll would be lifted for senior southpaw Ryan Holland, who promptly walked Arkansas' Tim Carver. After Collin Kuhn reached on an error by Wilson, Razorback Matt Reynolds singled to right, scoring two more. By the time Holland retired Dominic Ficociello for the third out, Arkansas had scored five two-out runs to stake a lead they would never relinquish.
Arkansas would tack on two more in the sixth via Kuhn's two-run double into the left field corner, scoring Atkins and Carver.
Memphis' bats came alive in the eighth, with Zurcher knocking in Martinez and Chapman, scoring a run following an error by Arkansas' Reynolds. Memphis' evening was marked by its inefficiency with runners aboard; six times the Tigers left runners stranded in scoring position, including two innings where Memphis was put away with the bases loaded. The 14 runners left on base was a season-high for the Tigers.
Zurcher and Chapman led the Tigers with two base knocks apiece; for Zurcher, his first hit of the night moved him past Josh Payne (2001-04) for eighth all-time in hits with his 193rd; he's now four away from tying Rich Bledsoe (1990-93) for seventh.
Moll was saddled with the first loss of his Tiger career, despite his effectiveness in the early going; the southpaw from Lakeland, Tenn., struck out a career-high seven batters on 91 pitches in his first start for the Blue and Gray. Despite the loss, it was an historic evening at AutoZone Park, with 5,127 spectators showing up; that marks a record for U of M games at AutoZone Park.
Memphis will open its Conference USA slate at East Carolina, beginning Friday at 5 p.m. (CT) in Greenville, N.C.