Tigers Strand Seven Runners In Scoring Position In 8-7 Loss to Tennessee
May 9, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis (23-25) stranded seven runners in scoring position and dropped an 8-7 decision to Tennessee (24-24) in front of a record-crowd 2,107 fans at FedExPark, Wednesday.
Tennessee grabbed an early lead with the combination of small ball and a long ball. Leadoff man Will Maddox was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt moved Maddox to third and Davis Morgan got the Vols on the board, scoring Maddox, with a sac fly. Drew Steckenrider followed with a solo shot to centerfield to give Tennessee a 2-0 lead after one half inning.
Clutch two-out hitting was the theme in the second as both clubs scored with two outs. Nick Powell singled to right field to drive in Parker Worsley, who reached on a walk and stole second base. The Tigers answered the 3-0 deficit with two runs of their own, as Tucker Tubbs hit a sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded and one out. Nate Rupiper followed with an RBI single, the first RBI of his career, to pull Memphis within one at 3-2.
Two-straight base runners reached to start the third for Tennessee and a three-run homer by Morgan gave the Vols a 6-2 lead. The Tigers answered with a sacrifice fly by Derrick Thomas, but Tennessee escaped a third inning jam, leaving the Tiger runners stranded with the bases loaded.
After Tennessee added a run in the top half of the fourth, Jacob Wilson blasted a three-run home run to left-centerfield to pull the Tigers within one run at 7-6. For Wilson, it was his fifth home run in four games and 15th on the season, most since former Tiger Dan Uggla hit 18 in the 2001 campaign.
A leadoff walk to Steckenrider nearly allowed the Vols to add to their lead, but a runner caught stealing on an attempted suicide squeeze thwarted the rally. Steckenrider stole second and third base to stand 90 feet from scoring, but on the suicide squeeze attempt, he was tagged out trying to retreat to third as his teammate at the plate missed on a bunt attempt.
The Tigers knotted the score at 7-7 in the fifth, but the failed to convert on a bases loaded opportunity with one out. Rupiper recorded his third hit of the game to load the bases and Ethan Gross delivered a one-out single to right-centerfield to knot the score. With the bases loaded, Jacob Wilson fouled out and McClain was retired looking as the Vols stranded the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
Memphis left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and left two more on in the seventh. Through the first seven innings, Memphis left seven runners in scoring position including three innings with the bases loaded. The missed opportunities were costly as Tennessee benefited from a leadoff double by pinch-hitter Chris Fritts. A sacrifice fly by Wormsley plated Fritts with one out in the inning as the Vols gained an 8-7 lead.
Four different Tiger hitters recorded two hits in the game as Memphis out-hit Tennessee 13-9. Patrick Bailey (2-3) was saddled with the loss as he allowed one run on one hit in two innings of relief. Dalton Saberhagen (5-1) earned the win, allowing no runs on no hits in 1.2 innings. Steckenrider worked a scoreless ninth to notch his first save of the season.
The Tigers travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on Missouri a three-game non-conference series that begins Friday at 6:00 p.m.