Tigers Post 5-3 Extra-Inning Victory Over No. 19 Rice
May 14, 2011
HOUSTON, Texas- The University of Memphis baseball team (27-22, 10-10 C-USA) scored two runs in the 10th inning and evened the series at No. 19 Rice (34-17, 14-7 C-USA)with a 5-3 victory at Reckling Park.
The Tigers carried a 3-2 lead to the eighth inning and appeared to have a great chance to pad the lead. Jacob Wilson singled up the middle and Rice centerfielder Michael Fuda fielded the ball and threw home to nab the potential insurance run for the Tigers.
A two-out double by Craig Manuel put the potential tying run on second base in the bottom of the eighth. Manuel would come around to tie the game on consecutive wild pitches by Ben Paullus. The Tiger reliever would get a ground ball to get out of the eighth with the score knotted at 3-3.
Paullus worked a scoreless ninth to send the game to extra innings. A pop-out by the reigning National Player of the Year Anthony Rendon was caught by Chad Zurcher at second base for the first out and Paullus came back with a strikeout of Michael Ratterree. A fly ball to center would send it to the 10th as Drew Martinez ranged back and caught the fly ball.
With the game in the 10th inning, Memphis wasted no time in getting a two-run lead. A leadoff walk and a single by Ethan Gross set the table for Martinez. After an error allowed Martinez to reach and load the bases, Zurcher hit a high chopper to third and beat the throw to first to give Memphis a 4-3 lead. Jacob Wilson hit next and roped a single through the left side and gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
After a leadoff walk brought the tying run to the plate, Paullus forced a pop-out in front of the plate and caught the pop fly for the first out of the 10th. A grounder to second moved the runner on first to second, but the throw to first was in time for the second out. A fly ball to center would end it and even the series.
Paullus earned the win on the mound and improved to 5-3 on the season. The reliever allowed one run on one hit in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one. Ryan Holland picked up a no decision after allowing two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Holland struck out four and walked seven.
After putting two runners on in the first inning without scratching out a run, the Tigers would get two runners on with two outs in the second. Following a Martinez walk to load the bases, Zurcher hit a ground ball to second, but Martinez beat the throw to second to give Memphis a 1-0 lead on the RBI fielder's choice by Zurcher.
The Owls knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third with a RBI-single by Rendon. Geoff Perrott scored on the play after being hit by the pitch. A sacrifice bunt and a groundout moved Perrott to third and allowed him to score on the single. Memphis regained the lead in the top of the fourth with the help of two wild pitches by Rice. Gross walked, stole second and would come around to score on back-to-back wild pitches.
Holland averted trouble in the fourth after the Owls put two runners on with two outs in the frame. The southpaw struck out Daniel Gonzales-Luna to end the frame after back-to-back singles put the two Rice runners on base.
A leadoff double by T.J. Rich helped Memphis extend the lead in the fifth. Phillip Chapman was hit by a pitch to put two on with no out, but an attempted bunt was popped up for the first out one of the inning. Eli Hynes would fly out to center and Rich tagged up and moved over to third. Gross hit next and singled through the right side to drive in Rich and give the U of M a 3-1 lead.
Rice put two runners on in the bottom of the fifth with a wild pitch on strike three and a walk. A sacrifice bunt by Ratterree moved the runners to scoring position and forced Holland to work out of a jam. Shane Hoelscher flied out to shallow right for the second out, but a walk would love the bases with two out. Holland would get out of the jam with a Derek Hamilton fly ball to shallow center.
The Owls once again put runners in scoring position with back-to-back singles and a passed ball to start the inning. After a walk loaded the bases, J.T. Chargois hit a grounder to short that allowed a run to score and cut the lead to 3-2. An intentional walk to Rendon loaded the bases once again and the Tigers went to the bullpen and Paullus. Ratterree would be the first batter faced by Paullus and Paullus induced the inning-ending double play to keep the Tigers in the lead at 3-2.
Gross, Zurcher and Wilson paced the Tiger offense with three hits each and the U of M out-hit Rice 12-6 on the afternoon. Zurcher drove in two while Gross and Wilson each picked up one RBI.
The Tigers go for the series victory on Sunday with first pitch slated at 1 p.m. Sunday's series finale will be carried live on CBS Sports Network.