@UofMBaseball Strands Eight in Scoring Position in 4-3 Loss at East Carolina
April 27, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Memphis (26-18, 9-8 C-USA) trailed 4-2 in the ninth and rallied for one run, but left their eighth runner in scoring position to take a 4-3 loss at East Carolina (22-21, 7-7 C-USA) on Saturday at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Zach Willis started off the ninth with a single through the right side. Ethan Gross hit a chopper to first that bounced into right field for a single putting runners on the corners with no outs in the inning. Carter White hit a bloop single into centerfield to plate a run, cutting the Pirates lead to 4-3. A fly out to right field put one out on the board and kept the runners at first and second. A groundball to second allowed the Pirates to turn a double play to end the game.
After a double play erased a leadoff walk in the first for the Tigers, East Carolina put a runner on second with one out. Jack Reinheimer doubled down the right field line, but right fielder Bryce Beeler made a good relay throw in on a single by Drew Reynolds to throw out Reinheimer at the plate.
Memphis grabbed the lead in the second with the help of two walks in the frame. Beeler worked a leadoff walk and Zach Willis took the free base on an eight-pitch at-bat. Gross doubled down the right field line to plate the go-ahead run in Beeler and Carter White grounded out to second to drive in Willis for the 2-0 lead. Gross was stranded at third to end the inning after ECU starter David Lucroy struck out his fifth of the afternoon.
The Tigers got the first two men on in the fourth, but Lucroy worked out of the jam, keeping the Tigers lead at 2-0. Drew Griffin reached on a bunt single to get it started and Keaton Aldridge attempted to sacrifice him, but the throw to second was errant putting two runners on. Jake Little sacrificed the runners to second and third with one out. A pop fly and strikeout ended the inning for Lucroy.
Memphis starter Sam Moll faced a big jam in the fourth, but the junior southpaw let his defense get him out of it. A leadoff double by Zach Houchins got the Pirates started in the frame, but Houcins was out at third on a fielder's choice on an attempted sacrifice bunt. With the bases loaded and one out, Moll induced an inning-ending double play with the groundout to shortstop.
East Carolina tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth, but a diving stop by Gross at shortstop ended the frame. A leadoff single by Travis Watkins got it started, but Moll followed it up with a strikeout for the first out. Reinheimer hit a seeing-eye single through the left side to put two runners on and a double by Drew Reynolds off the right field wall plated the first run. A sacrifice fly by Zach Houchins brought in the tying run. Gross made the diving grab going up the middle to throw out the runner at first to end the frame.
The Pirates put the potential go-ahead run on second with one out in the sixth against reliever Conner Porter, but the junior right-hander worked out of the jam. With the runner on second, Chris Gosik hit a grounder to short, but Jay Cannon was tagged out at second on the fielder' choice. Porter forced a groundout to second to end the frame with the game tied at 2-2.
Memphis loaded the bases in the seventh, but East Carolina escaped the jam to keep the game tied at 2-2. A leadoff single by pinch-hitter Austin Hatfield got it started for the Tigers and Willis was hit by a pitch to put two on with no out. A strikeout and fly out posted two quick outs, but Tucker Tubbs was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two out. Pirates reliever Brett Mabry forced a ground ball to first for the final out.
East Carolina grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the seventh. A leadoff single Bryan Bass put the pressure on the Tigers. A pop out on a hit-and-run got the Tigers the first out, but a single and error on the throw put runners on second and third with one out. An intentional walk loaded the bases and Chase McDonald hit a sacrifice fly to the wall in centerfield to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. An infield single loaded the bases again and a walk made it 4-2 in favor of the Pirates. A fielder's choice up the middle ended the inning, but the Tigers went to the eighth needing a comeback.
Mabry picked up the win as he allowing no runs on two hits over three innings of work. Porter suffered the loss allowing two runs on three hits in an inning and two-thirds of action. Reynolds picked up the save allowing one run on three hits in the ninth.
Gross and White paced the Memphis offense with two hits on the afternoon, but the Tigers were out-hit 11-8 on the game. White had two RBI in the game while Gross added the other.
Memphis and East Carolina play the rubber match of the series on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. (CT).