Middle Tennessee Edges Memphis 2-1
March 26, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis (13-11) had the tying run on third with one out in the eighth, but couldn't bring him in a 2-1 loss to Middle Tennessee (16-10) at FedExPark on Tuesday. It was the Tigers second-consecutive loss with the tying run on base with less than two outs.
The Tigers had a two-out spark to load the bases in the first, but the U of M failed to come up with a two-out hit. Jake Little had the only hit in the inning, a two-out single through the right side and Little recorded a stolen base in a third-consecutive game to stand on second for Bryce Beeler. Beeler was hit by a pitch with the count full and Little and Beeler executed the double steal to move to second and third. Tucker Tubbs was walked to load the bases, but a ground out allowed Middle Tennessee to escape the inning unscathed.
Middle Tennessee took a 2-0 lead in the first, but like the U of M, failed to cash in more with the bases loaded. Back-to-back singles and an error with one out in the third loaded the bases for the Blue Raiders and Johnny Thomas blooped a single to centerfield to stake Middle Tennessee to the 1-0 advantage. After a strikeout, Michael Adkins worked the bases loaded walk for the RBI, but the Blue Raiders stranded the bases loaded after a fly out to right field.
Blue Raiders starter Jordan Cooper retired the next eight batters he faced before a wild pitch on strike three allowed a runner to reach. Memphis ended up striking out four times in the fourth and Cooper entered the fifth having allowed just one hit. Keaton Aldridge reached on a bunt single to start the fifth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Middle Tennessee caught him too far off the second base bag and picked him off for the second out in the inning. Cooper ended the frame with his eighth strikeout of the night.
The Tigers got a leadoff single in the sixth, but Middle Tennessee erased the runner on the basepaths. Ethan Gross led off the inning with a single, but he was thrown out at second on the strikeout double play. A two-out walk didn't harm Cooper as he followed it up with his 10th strikeout.
Memphis scratched across one run in the seventh to slice into the Blue Raiders lead. Carter White was hit by a pitch to start the inning and a wild pitch followed by a passed ball allowed him to advance to third. After a strikeout, Aldridge hit a sharp grounder to first allowing White to score. The Tigers couldn't get any more offense generated in the inning, but trimmed the Middle Tennessee lead to 2-1.
Middle Tennessee attempted to answer back with a few runs in the eighth, but Memphis' defense made two outstanding grabs to keep the score tight at 2-1. After a leadoff single, Austin Hatfield robbed a home run near the left field foul pole as he leaped high and snagged the fly to bring it back. An error allowed another base runner and the Tigers went to the bullpen and Heith Hatfield . A fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two outs and White made a snag over the railing of the Tigers dugout to end the inning.
Memphis attempted to tie the game in the eighth, but Middle Tennessee closer Paul Mittura entered the game with one out in the inning and runners on the corners and stranded them there. Gross started the inning with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and stood 90 feet away from scoring after a sacrifice bunt. Beeler walked on four pitches to set up the runners on the corners situation, but Mittura got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning. Mittura retired the side in order in the ninth to complete his sixth save of the season.
Gross paced the Memphis offense with two hits, but Memphis was out-hit 6-5 on the evening. Wills was the tough-luck loser as he allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits in 7.1 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Memphis battles Middle Tennessee in game two of the midweek series at FedExPark on Wednesday at 4 p.m.