Tigers Score Five Runs Late To Knock Off No. 7 UCF 6-5
April 28, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - Memphis (19-24, 7-10) scored five runs in its final three at-bats to defeat No. 7 UCF (35-9, 13-4) 6-5 on Saturday at Jay Bergman Field.
Nate Rupiper recorded his third hit of the afternoon with two outs in the seventh to set the table for a two-run inning for the Tigers. Following Rupiper's single, Memphis hit three-straight singles to plate two runs to cut the UCF lead to 4-3. Jacob Wilson and Adam McClainpicked up the RBI in the inning. For Wilson, the RBI tied him with former Tiger Chris Marable for second all-time with 170.
UCF answered back with one run in the seventh, but an inning-ending double play kept the Tigers in the game. A one-out single, walk and RBI single by Darnell Sweeney gave the Knights a 5-3 lead. D.J. Hicks was walked to loaded the bases, but Chris Taladay grounded into the inning-ending double play to get the Tigers out of the jam.
A leadoff walk to Derrick Thomas and a single by Ethan Gross put the tying run on base with no outs in the eighth. Thomas scored on a passed ball and pinch-hitter Bryce Beelergrounded back to the pitcher, but the throw to first was errant allowing the tying run in Gross to score. With runners on the corners and one out, UCF forced the third double play of the afternoon to get out of the jam.
Jacob Wilsonwas issued a leadoff walk to start the ninth and moved to second on a passed ball. A groundout moved the go-ahead run to third. Thomas delivered a clutch two-out RBI single up the middle to give Memphis a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the ninth.
Memphis closer Jonathan Van Eatonissued a leadoff walk, but a sac bunt attempt was foiled as it went back to the pitcher in time for the force out at second. Van Eaton forced a pop out to get the Tigers one out away from the victory. Hicks stood in next, but Van Eaton battled back from a 3-0 count to strikeout Hicks to end the game.
The Knights pounded out three runs, including a leadoff solo home run by Talady, on four hits to grab a 3-0 lead in the second. After Talady's homer, Alex Friedrich and Ryan Breen hit back-to-back singles. A groundout moved both runners to scoring position and JoMarcos Woods delivered the third single of the inning to drive in the two runs.
Memphis got one run back in the fourth on a fielder's choice by Thomas. McClain walked to start the inning and moved to third on a well-executed hit-and-run with Eli Hynesripping a single through the left side. Thomas hit a grounder to short, but he beat the throw to first on the potential double play.
A leadoff walk proved costly in the fourth as the runner later scored on a RBI single by Jeramy Matos. Taladay was issued the leadoff walk and moved to second on a passed ball. A groundout moved Taladay to third, but the two-out RBI single by Matos plated the unearned run to give UCF a 4-1 lead.
Patrick Bailey pitched a scoreless eighth and earned the win to improve to 2-2. Sam Mollallowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits in seven innings of work. Van Eaton picked up the save, his sixth of the year. Knights closer Joe Rogers was saddled with the loss, his first of the season. Thomas had two hits and two RBI on the game to lead the team. Rupiper had a game-high three hits and the Tigers and Knights each had 10 hits.
Memphis looks to win the series as the Tigers face the Knights at 12 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.