Two Eighth Inning Errors Cost @UofMBaseball in 5-3 Loss to Southern Miss
April 19, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After a three-run seventh inning gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead, two eighth inning errors proved costly for Memphis (24-15, 7-6 C-USA) in a 5-3 loss to Southern Miss (20-17, 9-4 C-USA) at FedExPark on Friday night.
Southern Miss threatened to score first, loading the bases in the second inning. Memphis starter Sam Moll retired the first four hitters in order, but Isaac Rodriguez laid down a beautiful bunt down the third base line for the first hit of the evening. A grounder to second and a quirky hop allowed Rodriguez to move to second. Another infield single put runners on the corners with two outs before a walk loaded them up. Moll worked out of the two-out jam with a strikeout of the nine-hole, keeping the game scoreless.
The Tigers went without a hit until the fourth and managed to load the bases with two outs. Tucker Tubbs laced a single to left for Memphis' first hit of the night. Drew Griffin reached on a single as well, a blooper to right-centerfield just out of the reach of the centerfielder. A fielder's choice retired Griffin at second before a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Southern Miss escaped the jam with a strikeout to end the inning.
After Moll retired 14-straight batters, Southern Miss got back-to-back one out singles to spark a rally. Rodriguez singled up the middle to get it going and his single was the first hit to leave the infield for Southern Miss. A passed ball moved Rodriguez to scoring position and a Bradley Roney infield single put runners on the corners. Jared Bales ripped a single through the left side to plate one run before advancing to second on the throw trying to get Roney out at third. An intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, but Moll got a pop out to shallow right field and a strikeout to strand the bases full for the second time on the night.
Memphis answered right back with a three-run seventh to grab the 3-1 lead. Colton Simbeck put all the momentum in the Tigers dugout as he blasted his fourth home run of the season, fourth in league play, with a solo shot to left-centerfield to tie the game at 1-1. Back-to-back one out singles by Jake Little and Zach Willis put Tigers on the corners with one out. Ethan Gross laced a single past the glove of the Golden Eagles first baseman bringing in Little from third to give Memphis the 2-1 advantage. Willis moved to third on the play, but he was out on a fielder's choice bunt. On the bunt, Carter White reached second and Southern Miss intentionally walked Tubbs to load the bases. Griffin was hit by a pitch to make it 3-1, but Memphis left the bases loaded to end the inning.
Southern Miss responded to the Tigers three-run seventh with a four-run eighth to lead it 5-3. Two singles put the first two batters on and a fly ball to the left field wall was dropped allowing a run to score. The second error in the inning loaded the bases with no outs, but Moll struck out his 10th of the night to post the first out. A sacrifice fly knotted the score at 3-3, but two-straight singles brought in two more runs for the 5-3 lead. All four runs in the inning were unearned as Moll finished with 7.2 innings pitched with five runs allowed, one earned, on five hits.
Memphis was retired in order in the eighth, but the Tigers brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Gross worked a one out walk in the Tigers final at-bat. A slow roller to first retired the next Tigers batter, but Gross moved to second on the play. Southern Miss closer Bradley Roney, also the starting third baseman, struck out the next hitter to end the game.
The Tigers were out-hit 9-6 on the game and no U of M hitter had two or more hits. Southern Miss reliever Nick Johnson picked up the win, pitching 1.2 innings allowing no runs on one hit while striking out one.
Memphis and Southern Miss battle in game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Prior to the game, the University of Memphis will retire the jersey of four-time first team all-conference selection Mike Dlugach.