Memphis Can't Overcome Early Inning Barrage
March 24, 2000
St. Louis, Mo. - The University of Memphis baseball team (6-16, 0-3) just couldn't get on track Friday night, (after giving up nine runs in the first three innings) eventually falling to the Billikens of Saint Louis (8-11, 2-2), 10-8. Even after the Billikens committed five errors, it still wasn't enough as the Tigers attempted to come back and eventually got within two runs of tying the game, but ultimately fell short.
The Tigers got a run in the first inning, as sophomore first baseman Jay Fik (Christian Brothers H.S.) singled past the second baseman to score junior shortstop Gabe Interiano from second base and Memphis jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, entering the bottom of the first. The Billikens would come back with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first, to take a 5-1 lead into the top of the second. The Tigers roared back in the second, after getting a run from junior third baseman Tyler Shelton who crossed the plate after senior left fielder Tony Lomeli reached on a fielder's choice and Memphis trailed, 5-2. The comeback continued in the second, as Interiano singled in the gap between second and first base, scoring Lomeli and sophomore center fielder Paul Reuer, closing the gap 5-4. The Saint Louis scoring trend continued into the bottom of the second, when the Billikens bounced back with two more runs and increased their lead, 7-4. The Billikens would add to their total, with a two-run inning in the bottom of the third after getting a solo home run by Mike Orrico, followed by a bloop single courtesy of Eric Constable which drove in Brian Haddock and the score was then 9-4, Saint Louis. The Tigers would then get some runs back in the fourth, as senior designated hitter Nate Sams hit into a fielders choice and drove in sophomore second baseman Daniel Uggla from third and it was then, 9-5. In that same inning, Shelton would then hit a single past the second baseman and Sams would score from third, making it a 9-6 ballgame. Senior catcher Craig Hopkins (Houston H.S.)was the next batter and he singled to shallow center which scored senior right fielder Wes Crane and the Billikens lead was narrowed 9-7, entering the bottom of the fourth. Saint Louis increased their lead in the bottom of the sixth, when John McLaughlin singled to shallow center, driving home Brandon Shockley and Memphis trailed 10-7, going into the top of the seventh. The Tigers would get one more run in the top of the ninth, as senior designated hitter Henry Castor was sent in to pinch-hit for Hopkins and he responded by ripping a single to third which scored Sams from second and Memphis would narrow the gap, 10-8. That however, was as close as the Tigers would get, as they lost their third straight Conference USA game this season.
Interiano led Memphis offensively, going 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBI while scoring a run. Fik was right behind him, going 2-for-4 with two singles and one RBI.
On the mound for the Tigers, it was junior pitcher Jonathan Leicester grabbing the loss (0-4). Leicester went three full innings, allowing nine runs (six earned) on eight hits while walking three and fanning three, in the loss. Redshirt-freshman Joshua Cartwright came in to relieve Leicester and went the rest of the distance, facing 21 batters and allowing only one run on two hits while walking only two and striking out five.
These two teams will hook up again tomorrow at 1 p.m in the second game of this series. To be followed by the final game of this three-game road trip, which will be played on Sunday March 26th at 1 p.m.