Baseball Outlasts UAB, 7-6, in Series Opener
April 13, 2007
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
Memphis (20-14; 6-4 C-USA) 010 201 021 - 7 8 1 UAB (16-19; 4-3 C-USA) 200 000 031 - 6 13 3
Senior rightfielder Josh Irvin went 2-for-3 and tied a career-high with three RBI as Memphis snapped its three-game losing skid with a 7-6 win over UAB at Young Memorial Field on Friday evening.
While Irvin led Memphis' eight-hit offensive attack, starter Ben Grisham and reliever Matt Yokley held a potent UAB offense in check to clinch the squad's 20th win of the year. Winning pitcher Grisham (2-1) allowed five runs on the evening--three of which came in the eighth--and fanned five in a solid seven innings of work. He scattered 10 hits before giving way to Yokley, who held off a strong UAB and struck out four in just two innings, to pick up his fifth save of the season.
Ahead 6-2, Memphis saw UAB stage a strong rally to get back into the contest. A leadoff walk by J.R. Bond and consecutive singles to Danny Sawyer and Jonathan Merritt loaded the bases with no outs. Steven Turner drew a bases loaded walk to cut the Tiger cushion to 6-3. Phil Bell then drove a two-run single to left to make it a one-run game at 6-5.
K.K. Chalmers led off the ninth with a walk and then stole second to set up an insurance score for Memphis. Chalmers moved to third on a bunt by Michael Murray and scored on Bill Moss' fielder's choice pop up to shallow leftfield to give the Tigers a 7-5 lead.
That run would prove to be the game-winner as Ryne Lovdahl led off the home half of the ninth with a solo blast to left center to make it 7-6. Yokley was then able to nail down the save.
Memphis was put in the catch-up mode early as UAB jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Blazers leadoff hitter Levi Patmon singled through the left side and advanced to third on a pair of groundball outs. A passed ball allowed him to score the game's first run. A double to left center off the bat of Bond scored Lovdahl and made it a 2-0 ballgame in favor of UAB.
Irvin's bat accounted for each of Memphis' first three tallies. After a single by Adam Amar, Irvin drove a one-out double to the gap in right centerfield. Amar came all the way around to score from first for the Tigers' first run.
Irvin's second double of the night gave Memphis its first lead at 3-2 in the fourth inning. With two outs and Kyle Norrid and Will Petersen on second and third, respectively, the senior tucked a double just inside the leftfield foul line to plate both runners.
Grisham and the Tigers dodged bullets in the fourth and fifth innings to preserve the lead. Grisham found himself in a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fourth, but managed to strikeout Turner and induce an inning-ending groundball. The Blazers put runners on first and second before Sawyer drove a long flyball to centerfield. However, the potential RBI-opportunity was put to rest by Chalmers, who made the catch as he leapt into the centerfield wall.
Joey Lieberman gave Memphis a two-run lead, 4-2, in the top half of the sixth when he clubbed his sixth homer of the year over the left centerfield wall.
Memphis took advantage of three Blazer errors to tack on a pair of runs in the eighth. Norrid was the first beneficiary of the miscues as he reached on an infield error and moved to third when reliever James Oliver's pickoff attempt squirted past first baseman Ryan Keedy and into the Memphis bullpen. The Tiger senior scored on a wild pitch. Petersen then singled and Irvin rolled a groundball in the hole between first and second. On the play, Oliver was unable to haul in the toss for the out at first and the ball rolled to the Tigers dugout. Petersen alertly advanced to third on the error and outraced UAB catcher Danny Sawyer to the plate after Sawyer left the dish unattended to retrieve the ball.
Mitch Kloskowski took the loss, despite a valiant effort on the hill. The righthander worked seven innings and struck out four.
With impending rain in the Birmingham area, the Tigers and Blazers will hit the field early on Saturday. First pitch for game two is set for 10:30 a.m.