Baseball Outlasts MTSU, 8-5
April 2, 2002
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Memphis used a 12th inning home run from junior first baseman Andy Gesell to post its third-consecutive extra-innings victory, 8-5 over Middle Tennesse, at Reese Smith Field in Murfreesboro, Tenn., tonight. The win extends the Tigers season-high winning streak to four games and they improve their overall record to 9-14.
The Blue Raiders took a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh until senior catcher Barrett Smith led off with a single and senior first baseman Jay Fik followed with a two-run blast to right center to even the score at 4-4.
Middle Tennessee's Josh Archer answered immediately in the home half of the seventh with a lead-off solo home run to give the Blue Raiders a 5-4 lead that would last a half an inning.
In the top of the eighth Smith sent a two-out, 420-foot home run off the mezzanine level of the Middle Tennessee football stadium in left center to tie the score at 5-5.
Memphis was held in check by Blue Raider reliever Marshall Nesbitt for the next 3.2 innings. But Nesbitt's effort was dwarfed by the performance of Tiger junior right-hander Joel Posey. Posey surrendered just one hit and struck out five over 5.0 innings and narrowly escaped with his second victory of the season. Sophomore left fielder Josh Payne made a diving stab with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a Blue Raider rounding third to rob Middle Tennessee of what would have surely been the game-winner.
Neither team scored until the top of the 12th when Gesell sent a dart over the right field wall and gave the Tigers the 6-5 lead. Memphis added two insurance runs when sophomore shortstop Brent Dlugach walked and scored on a Smith double. Smith advanced to third on an errant throw and later scored on a wild pitch.
Gesell finished the evening 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs and Fik was 2-for-6 with three RBI. Smith was 4-for-6 with three runs and three RBI. The White Station graduate is nine for his last 11 at bats, including back-to-back, four-hit games and three-straight contests with a home run.
The Tigers are back in action tomorrow when they take on Middle Tennessee State at Reese Smith Stadium at 3 p.m.