Free Bases Help @MemphisBaseball Past Middle Tennessee, 8-4
April 2, 2014
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Memphis took advantage of 14 free bases to defeat Middle Tennessee 8-4 on Wednesday at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
Middle Tennessee took a 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run home run in the first, but the Tigers gained a 5-2 advantage in the fourth. The Tigers had just one hit in the five-run inning, a leadoff single by Kane Barrow. After a walk had two on with no out, Keaton Aldridge laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error allowed Barrow to score and the Tigers had runners on second and third with no out. Back-to-back walks brought in the tying run and a RBI groundout by Zach Willis gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. A wild pitch made it 4-2 before Ethan Gross made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly.
After the Tigers did some two out damage to score a run in the fifth, Middle Tennessee scored twice in the sixth to make it 6-4. The Tigers scored in the fifth after back-to-back two-out singles by Nate Rupiper and Aldridge, which set the table for Zach Schritenthal and Schritenthal reached on an infield single. Schritenthal earned a RBI after Rupiper ran hard around third and beat the throw from second to the plate. The Blue Raiders used a two-out triple and wild pitch to plate their two runs in the sixth.
The Tigers got one run back in the seventh off the bat of Barrow. The junior college transfer blasted his first career home run to lead off the inning and the Tigers grabbed the 7-4 advantage. Reliever Trevor Sutton took over in the seventh and faced trouble as Middle Tennessee put two runners on with two outs. Sutton used a called third strike with two outs to preserve the 7-4 lead.
Memphis' defense turned four double plays in the game, none perhaps as big as a double play in the eighth. After a leadoff double, Middle Tennessee attempted a bunt, but the ball was popped up and caught by Aldridge. Aldridge threw to second and doubled off the runner.
A two-out single by Ford Wilson helped the Tigers add an insurance run in the ninth. Wilson moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI single by Rupiper to give Memphis the 8-4 advantage. Bryce Beeler pitched a scoreless ninth to close the door, although he pitched in a non-save situation.
Memphis starter Dylan Toscano (3-1) picked up his first win since February 23 as he tossed six innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits. Toscano walked three and struck out two as he tied his career-long outing.
Barrow and Rupiper paced the Tigers offensively as each had two hits and a RBI. The Tigers out-hit the Blue Raiders 8-6 on the game.
Memphis closes a nine-game road trip with a three-game series at No. 8 Louisville this weekend. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. (CT) on Friday from Patterson Stadium in Louisville.