Michael Wills Stifles Arkansas State to Lead @UofMBaseball to 6-0 Win
April 30, 2013
JONESBORO, Ark. -Michael Wills pitched seven shutout innings and allowed only two hits as Memphis (27-19) blanked Arkansas State (24-21) 6-0 at Tomlinson Stadium on Tuesday.
Arkansas State put a quick end to the Tigers threat in the first as catcher Stuart Levy picked off a runner a second to end the first frame. Zach Willis was hit by a pitch and stole second before Tucker Tubbs was walked to put two on with two out. After Bryce Beeler swung and missed at the first pitch in his at-bat, Levy threw to the shortstop covering the second base bag and the throw beat Willis to the bag for the third out in the inning.
The Red Wolves issued a leadoff walk to Beeler in the second and he moved to second on a groundout by Drew Griffin. On a grounder to third with Beeler running toward the third base bag, the Arkansas State third baseman tried to scoop the grounder and tag Beeler, but Beeler scampered past the tag to allow Nate Rupiper to reach on a fielder's choice. After Rupiper stole second without a throw, Colton Simbeck slammed a three-run home run over the leftfield fence to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Memphis added three runs in the third to increase the lead to 6-0. Carter White started the inning with an infield single, but he was erased on a fielder's choice. Willis reached on the fielder's choice and moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a single by Tubbs. On the throw home, Willis stayed put at third, but Tubbs advanced to second. Beeler grounded out to short, but Willis was able to score while Tubbs stayed put at second. The Tigers came up with two, two-out RBI as Griffin and Rupiper singled to pick up RBI.
Wills kept the Red Wolves out of the hit column until Alex Potts singled up the middle with one out in the fifth. The redshirt-senior starter hit two batters and walked another, but didn't allow more than one baserunner in an inning over the first five innings.
In the sixth, Kevin Fitzpatrick singled through the left side to spark the Red Wolves offense. A wild pitch moved him to second, giving ASU their first runner in scoring position in the game. After a walk put two on with one out, the Tiger defense turned a double play to put two outs on the board with a runner at third. Wills struck out the next ASU batter to strand the runner at third with the Tigers leading 6-0 after six innings.
Wills finished the day with seven innings pitched allowing no runs on two hits while walking two and striking out four. For his career, Willis improves to 2-0 in four starts spanning 27.1 innings with a 0.66 ERA.
Freshman Colin Lee pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing just a two out single, but Arkansas State hit back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth to spark a rally. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, but Lee came back to strikeout the next hitter for the second out. A groundout to third ended the game as Lee finished off his outing with two scoreless innings.
With their eighth shutout of the season, the 2013 pitching staff has the most shutouts since the 1976 staff blanked 11 opponents. The eight shutouts tie for the third-most in a single-season, a mark set in 1974.
Tubbs and Griffin paced the Tigers offense with two hits each. Simbeck had three RBI while Beeler, Griffin and Rupiper added the other three RBI.
The Tigers return to FedExPark for their final home weekend series of the season against Marshall. The three-game set begins Friday at 6:30 p.m.