Six Late Runs Lift @UofMBaseball Past East Carolina 6-5
April 26, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Trailing 3-0 entering the seventh inning, Memphis (26-17, 9-7 C-USA) scored six runs over their final three at-bats and held on to defeat East Carolina (21-21, 6-7 C-USA) 6-5 in game one of the series at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.
Coming to the mound in relief in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Clayton Gant ended the inning with a first pitch fly out. Gant went on to allow no runs over three and a third inning while allowing one hit. Gant struck out four without walking a batter.
Back-to-back singles by Keaton Aldridge and Little sparked Memphis in the seventh. Hoffman forced a groundout for the first out of the frame, but each runner advanced. Hoffman struck out the next Tiger to leave runners at second and third with one out. Beeler swung at the first pitch he saw and belted a three-run home run to left field to tie the game at 3-3. The three-run home run was the first career home run for Beeler.
In the eighth, Tubbs posted his third hit of the night to start off the frame for the Tigers. With Tubbs running on the pitch, Drew Griffin lifted a double to left-centerfield allowing Tubbs to score for a 4-3 Memphis lead. Griffin moved to third as the centerfielder misplayed the ball on the track. A walk put runners on the corners, but Hoffman struck out the next hitter and followed it with a fly out to end the inning.
A defensive replacement in the bottom of the eighth, Austin Hatfield led off the ninth for the Tigers and dropped in a single to centerfield. After a bunt attempt was missed at the plate, the Pirates catcher tried to throw out Hatfield at first, but the throw got away allowing Hatfield to move to third. Hatfield drew the throw to third and the throw bounced over the wall, rewarding Hatfield a base for the run and a Tigers 5-3 lead. Ethan Gross was hit by a pitch with two outs and moved to second on a balk. Tubbs delivered his fourth hit of the night and Gross scored to give Memphis the 6-3 lead going to the bottom of the ninth.
Closer Jonathan Van Eaton came in for the save and the first batter launched a high fly ball to the wall in right field, but Ford Wilson made the catch. After a ground out on a bunt to third, Van Eaton walked Drew Reynolds with two outs in the inning. A two-out error on a grounder to first put two runners on with two outs and a single loaded the bases with two outs. A RBI single by Ben Fultz scored two runs and put the potential tying run on third, but Van Eaton forced a fly out to complete the save. With nine saves this season, Van Eaton has tied the U of M single-season record after already setting the career saves record.
The Tigers got off to a good start as Zach Willis singled to centerfield, but East Carolina kept the U of M off the scoreboard. After a sacrifice bunt didn't work out with Ethan Gross at the plate, Willis moved to scoring position on a wild pitch. Two ground outs to the left side of the infield helped Pirates starter Jeff Hoffman get out of the jam.
East Carolina scored first with some two out damage staking the squad to a 1-0 lead. Drew Reynolds doubled down the right field line, the ball bouncing off the first base bag. Zach Houchins followed with a double of his own down the leftfield line for his 27th RBI of the season. A fly out ended the inning with Houchins stranded at second. Making his first career start on a Friday night, Erik Schoenrock faced a big jam in the third, hoping to keep the Tigers deficit at 1-0. A leadoff double by Bryan Bass followed by a balk put a runner on third with no outs in the inning. Schoenrock struck out the next two Pirate hitters and a pop fly allowed him to escape the inning unscathed.
The Pirates struck for another leadoff double in the fourth, putting pressure on the junior southpaw once again. Chase McDonald hit the leadoff double to the wall in the left-centerfield, but he couldn't advance on a diving grab in left-centerfield by Jake Little. A fielder's choice got the out at third base and Schoenrock ended the inning with a fly out to centerfield.
Little led off the fifth for the Tigers and doubled down the rightfield line, but Hoffman didn't allow him to advance. A first pitch fly out followed by a grounder to third put two quick outs on the board with Little standing on second base. Hoffman struck out the next Tigers batter on three pitches to end the inning.
Back-to-back two out infield singles sparked the Pirates in the fifth as ECU opened up a 3-0 lead. Jack Reinheimer reached after a grounder hit Schoenrock's foot and Reynolds followed with a single to shortstop. Houchins collected his second two-out RBI of the night to make it 2-0. McDonald registered the fourth-straight two-out single with a single to left putting runners on the corners with the Pirates leading 3-0. A walk loaded the bases and the Tigers went to Clayton Gant out of the bullpen. Gant ended the inning with a first pitch fly out and the Tigers trailed 3-0 after five innings.
Tubbs paced the Memphis offense with a career best four hits while Little and Beeler each had a pair of hits. Beeler entered the game 3-for-31 in the month and was 2-for-3 with three RBI and his first career home run. Hoffman pitched eight and a third innings in the loss allowing five runs, four earned, on 12 hits while striking out seven.
With the win, Memphis wins on Friday night at East Carolina for the first time in the series between the two teams. It marks the Tigers fourth victory against the Pirates at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Memphis and East Carolina battle in game two of the series on Saturday at 1 p.m.