Tiger Baseball Splits Doubleheader With Middle Tennessee
March 26, 2003
Memphis, Tenn. - The University of Memphis baseball team split a doubleheader with Middle Tennessee Wednesday winning game one 5-4 in eight innings before dropping game two, 2-1. The Tigers (7-15) rallied from a four-run deficit to win game one, but the Memphis bats were silenced by Middle Tennessee starter B.J. Church and three relievers in game two as the Blue Raiders (10-12) held on for the one-run victory. Memphis did not helps it cause in game two by committing a season-high five errors in the field.
"We are still making mistakes that are keeping us from winning ball games," Memphis head coach Dave Anderson said. "It was nice to see the team fight back and win game one and if their second baseman doesn't make a great play on the ball hit by (Michael) Lewis with the bases loaded in game two, we might have won that game."
In game one, the Blue Raiders took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after shortstop Chad Cooper singled, stole second and third base. Cooper scored on an errant throw by catcher Kurt Welch on the play. Middle loaded the bases, but could plate just one more run on an RBI fielder's choice ground ball by Shane Kemp.
Middle Tennessee added two more runs in the third on an RBI singles by Kemp and former Cordova High star Jeff Beachum. Kemp put himself in scoring position after stealing second base for the second time in the game.
Memphis tied the game at four in the third with a pair of home runs. Jordan Hart hit his team leading fourth round-tripper of the season, a one-out shot to leftfield, to close the gap to 4-1. After a single by Michael Lewis, Josh Payne reached when he was hit by a pitch. Catcher Kurt Welch tied the game on the next at-bat with a three-run homer to left. Welch now has a team-high 19 RBI on the season.
Sophomore reliever Daniel de Armas (2-0) pitched five innings of scoreless relief for the Tigers to pick up the victory. De Armas replaced U of M starter Bill Edwards who surrendered four earned runs on five hits in the first three innings. The Blue Raiders got an equally impressive performance out of their bullpen from reliever Chris Mobley, who gave up just one hit in three innings of work.
Middle Tennessee's third pitcher of the game Chase Swing did not have the same success as the Tigers would score the winning run in the home half of the eighth. Welch led off with a single and was pinch-run for by Chad House. Designated hitter Ryan Martin followed with a double to the left-center gap that put runners on second and third. Third baseman Kyle Scott drew an intentional walk to load the bases and shortstop Brent Dlugach delivered the game-winning RBI-single with a long drive over centerfielder Chuck Aker's head to plate House. Dlulgach, Welch, Martin, and Lewis each had a pair of hits for the Tigers in game one.
Game two saw Middle take an early 1-0 lead after scoring a run in the first without the aid of a hit. Cooper was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, stole second and advanced to third on a fielder's choice. Cooper later scored on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Brett Carroll.
The Blue Raiders extended their lead to 2-0 in the second after a pair of Tiger miscues led to a sacrifice fly by first baseman Jerry Knox. The run was unearned and charged to sophomore Michael Novarese who did not allow a run over his next 4.1 innings of work. The U of M cut the lead to 2-1 on Kyle Scott's second homer of the year, a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth. The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs following Scott's home run, but a Beachum snagged a line drive by Lewis to end the threat for Memphis. Church (1-0) struck out a season-high nine batters in route to the victory.
Novarese had a career-high seven strikeouts in the outing as sophomore Erik Filsinger kept the Raiders' lead at one with a hitless inning of relief. Travis Horschel allowed a single to Hart in the bottom of the seventh, but that would be the only base runner Memphis would be able to put on as the Blue Raider reliever struckout Kevin House to finish the game and pick up his first save of the year. Memphis returns to action this weekend with a three-game set against Conference-foe UAB. Game times for this weekend's games are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. All three games will be broadcast live locally on WUMR 91.7 FM.