Baseball Improves C-USA Position With 5-4 Win Over Bearcats
March 29, 2002
CINCINNATI - A five-run eighth keyed by sophomore rightfielder Josh Payne's (Memphis, Tenn./Houston HS) two-out single, helped the Memphis Tigers snap a two-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory at Johnny Bench field, Friday afternoon.
A pitching duel between starters Ryan O'Malley for Memphis and UC's B.J. Borsa lasted well through the seventh inning after both pitchers combined to allow just nine hits before both hurlers began showing signs of fatigue. Memphis improved to 3-4 in league play and 6-14 overall while the host Bearcats fell to 11-13-1 overall and 1-5-1 in C-USA.
"The key really was Ryan O"Malley keeping us in the ballgame," said head coach Dave Anderson. "Once he settled down after the second inning he definitely set the tone and helped us hang around. In a tight ballgame like that, when you hang around, usually it's only a matter of time. Josh Payne came up with a big hit for us and was the player of the game, but O'Malley really was the difference down the stretch the way he kept us in the hunt till the end."
Payne, who finished 2-for-4 on the day with two RBI and a run scored, also collected his first save of the season after retiring the side on a pop-up and game-ending double-play, while O'Malley improved to 3-1 on the year and 1-1 in league play after he struck out six UC batters and at one point retired eight straight.
Cincinnati scored during the bottom of the first and maintained a slim 1-0 lead on the arm of Borsa well into the top of the eighth until the starter, who had fanned eight previous hitters, walked junior centerfielder Paul Cookman to begin the inning. After freshman shortstop Brent Dlugach's (Germantown, Tenn./Houston HS) sacrifice-bunt advanced Cookman to second complete with junior first basekan Andy Gesell's single (Memphis, Tenn./Briarcrest HS) and redshirt-senior Jay Fik (Memphis, Tenn./CBHS) being hit by a pitch, Payne came up and delivered a clutch two-out single which scored all three Tiger players and gave Memphis the lead for good, 3-1. Memphis then grabbed two more insurance runs when sophomore third baseman Kyle Scott (Germantown, Tenn./Germantown HS) hit his fourth home run of the season to deep centerfield which made the score 5-1 after seven-and-a-half.
The Bearcats wasted little time and battled back immediately with three solo bombs off O'Malley during the bottom half of the eighth but redshirt-junior reliever Josh Cartwright came on with two outs and struck out Aaron Moll to escape the inning.
Dlugach was flawless in the field and made a diving stab on a line-drive in the sixth while Gesell extended his hitting streak to six games with two singles and a run scored.