Baseball Drops Series Finale To 14th-Ranked Southern Miss 8-5
April 10, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – After leading Southern Miss (23-8, 6-3 C-USA) 5-0 through five innings, the University of Memphis (19-12, 3-3 C-USA) bullpen gave up seven runs, six earned, in the final 3.2 innings of work in an 8-5 loss Sunday at FedExPark. The loss prevented a series sweep over the nation’s 14th-ranked club and dropped Memphis to .500 in league play at 3-3 through just two conference series weekends.
Memphis jumped up on the board early thanks to a pair of USM miscues. A pair of Southern Miss errors placed Drew Martinez on second, and a walk of T.J. Rich set the table for a three-run Phillip Chapman homer to left field. It was Chapman’s third home run of the season and his third that came in a Sunday game of a three-game series.
The second inning brought much of the same. Another Golden Eagles error, this one from the shortstop, spotted Memphis’ Adam McClain first base. USM’s fielding woes continued in Martinez’s at-bat. A high pop fly to shallow center field somehow found grass between a trio of Golden Eagles, scoring Memphis’ fourth run of the afternoon. In the next at bat, Martinez was driven in by the nation’s leading hitter Chad Zurcher. The left field grounder gave the Tigers a comfortable 5-0 lead heading into the top of the third inning.
A couple of key catches in the top of the fifth inning kept Southern Miss scoreless. Martinez got under two long shots to center field, helping strand Southern Miss runners on the corners, and getting the Tigers out of a jam. But after escaping jams in the third, fourth and fifth, USM broke through in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Mark Ellis roped a shot to right field, landing just in front of Robby Graham for an RBI single, 5-1. Memphis made a change on the mound prior to the next at bat, ending Gant’s day at the plate after five and one third innings pitched. Senior Dane Sharp entered the game with the bases loaded and with assistance of his fielders, got the Tigers out of a jam.
USM’s rally continued in to the top of the seventh. Adam Doleac stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and blasted a homer to right center, evening the score at 5-5.
The Golden Eagles stroked a home run once more in the top of the eighth, when B.A. Vollmuth sent a two RBI shot over FedExPark’s right field wall.
With runners on the corners in the top of the ninth, USM’s Diliberto laid a sac bunt down the first base line, scoring Doleac and extending Southern Miss’ lead to 8-5.
The Tigers now turn their attention to a home-and-home with regional rival Arkansas State. The first game of the mid-week slate is scheduled for Tuesday at FedExPark. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.