Ninth-Inning Comeback Clinches Memphis' First Series Win against Rice
March 27, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Rice (12-12, 0-2 C-USA) 100 005 100 - 7 12 2 Memphis (11-12, 2-0 C-USA) 401 000 003 - 8 10 2
Adam McClain capped a three-run ninth inning rally with a game-winning single as Memphis clinched its first-ever series victory over No. 18 Rice with an 8-7 come-from-behind decision in game two of C-USA's opening weekend. The Owls salvaged the series finale, 13-4.
Trailing 7-5 in the final frame, Memphis used a strong rally to seal the conference series win. Pinch hitter Robby Graham started the rally with a flared single to center. With one at-bat left to extend his hit streak to 12 games, sophomore Drew Martinez did just that, drilling a double into the rightfield corner. Chad Zurcher knotted the contest at 7-all with a two-run double to right. After a single by Rick Russell, McClain came up big with the game-winning hit for the 8-7 win. McClain's single was his lone hit of the game.
Russell and Zurcher both went 3-for-5 to lead Memphis' 10-hit offensive with three hits each. Zurcher McClain and Trey Wiedman had two RBI each.
Rice scored the game's first run in the first inning, but Memphis quickly answered with four in the home half. Martinez was plunked by a Taylor Wall pitch, Zurcher reached on an infield single and Tyler Huelsing drew a walk to load the bases. The next four Tiger batters to come to the plate produced RBI at-bats to help Memphis to a 4-1 lead. Russell reached on an error and McClain walked. Wiedman brought Huelsing home with a fielder's choice groundball and Phillip Chapman's groundout plated Russell.
With a 5-1 lead in hand, Memphis saw the Rice offense rally in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead. In all, the Owls sent 10 batters to the plate and connected for five hits, including a two-run double by Diego Seastrunk and a two-run single off the bat of Craig Manuel.
Rice would take advantage of a failed pickoff to go up by two runs in the seventh before the eventual game-winning rally.
Tigers starter Ryan Fraser was strong in a no-decision outing. The senior struck out five and gave up six runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. Five of the six runs and three of the six hits came in Rice's five-run sixth. Fraser handed the ball over to freshman Dan Langfield and the hard-throwing freshman held the Owls to one unearned run on six hits in 3.2 innings to pick up the win and improve to 4-2 on the year. Wall was solid for Rice. The southpaw surrendered five runs (two earned) on just two hits in five innings. Owls' reliever Tyler Duffey was the losing pitcher after giving up the three runs in the ninth and allowing six hits in two innings.
Rice (13-12, 1-2 C-USA) 253 200 100 - 13 23 1 Memphis (11-13, 2-1 C-USA) 020 020 000 - 4 12 2
Rice scored two runs in the first and exploded for five runs in the second in the 13-4 rout of the Tigers in the series finale.
Memphis cut the deficit to 7-2 with a pair of scores in the second, on RBI's by Alan Mathis and Graham, but Rice responded with three more in the third and two in the fourth to put the contest out of reach 12-2.
Huelsing hit his seventh home run of the year in the fifth to make it 12-4, but the Tigers' deficit was insurmountable.
Rice pounded out 23 hits, to Memphis' 12 in the nightcap. The Tigers' 1-2 punch of Martinez and Zurcher hit safely to extend their current hit streaks to 16 and 13 games, respectively. Shawn Ablett had a breakout night, going 3-for-3.
Memphis starter Ryan Holland was saddled with the loss after getting roughed up for seven runs on nine hits in 1.2 innings of work. Jared Rogers was the winning pitcher, going 7.1 innings and allowing four runs.
The Tigers will now prepare for midweek competition at Arkansas State. The Tigers and Red Wolves will matchup at 6:30 p.m. on Tues., Mar. 30 at Tomlinson Stadium.