Dramatic Ninth Inning Sends Memphis Past Arkansas State, 8-7
May 9, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Arkansas State (19-30) 003 300 001 - 7 11 2 Memphis (31-18) 311 000 102 - 8 11 2
With the Tigers trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth and down to its last strike, freshman Tyler Huelsing lifted a game-tying RBI-single to center and then scored from first on an error by the Arkansas State outfield to push Memphis past ASU 8-7 in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night at Nat Buring Stadium. The Tigers improve to 31-18 with its 11th win last at-bat win.
The ninth inning was full of Tiger heroics. A single by Brandon Eller and a bunt single by Guy Brown put runners on first and second with no outs. Ryan Hudgins then put the Indians on top with a lined single to left to bring Eller home for a 7-6 ASU lead. Reliever Dusty Davis intentionally walked cleanup hitter Josh Yates to load the sacks. The strategic move paid off as Davis induced a groundball to Moss, who made the throw for the force out at the plate. Davis then induced an inning-ending double play to hold the Indians to just one run in the frame.
It was the offense's turn in the bottom half of the ninth as they would face Arkansas State's closer Tim Egert. Memphis roughed up the Indian closer in Tuesday night's 10-5 win and was poised to do the same in the series finale. Joey Lieberman led off the inning with a line drive out to third base. Adam Amar then drew a walk to set the table for the dramatic finish. After a flyball out by Josh Irvin, K.K. Chalmers was brought on as a pinch-runner for Amar. Chalmers promptly swiped second base before Huelsing's game-tying single. Huelsing scored on the next at-bat, when Eric Farrell drove a flyball to left centerfield. ASU leftfielder Jett Jones was unable to pull the ball in to force extra innings, and Huelsing raced around for the game-winning tally.
The ninth-inning single was not the only heroics from the bat of Huelsing. After a 53-minute lightening/rain delay, the freshman tied the game at 6-6 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Munford, Tenn. native, was 2-for-4 on the night with three RBI.
Memphis got on the board in the first inning on an RBI-single by Lieberman and consecutive run-scoring doubles from Amar and Irvin. Amar's RBI-double made him the program's all-time RBI leader with 171 career runs driven in. Irvin finished the night with a team-best three hits.
A double inside the leftfield foul line by Kyle Norrid scored Alex Fennell to give Memphis a 4-0 lead, but the Tribe responded with three runs in the third and three more in the fourth to overcome the early deficit and take a 6-5 lead after four innings of play.
Davis picked up the win after giving up a run on four hits in two innings of work. Dylan Cupples was solid in a long-relief outing. The freshman allowed one run and just two hits in four innings.
Memphis will host Houston in its final home series of the year, beginning Fri., May 11. First pitch for the series opener is slated for 6:30 p.m.