Baseball Downs Charlotte, 11-10
May 16, 2002
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Senior centerfielder Paul Reuer drove in the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tigers an 11-10 win over Charlotte at Nat Buring Stadium on Thursday night.
The Tigers trailed most of the way as Charlotte jumped out to a 4-0 in the top of the first, a lead the Tigers immediately cut to 4-3 on RBI singles from seniors Jay Fik and Paul Reuer and run-scoring double from junior designated hitter Andy Gesell in the bottom of the first.
Trailing 9-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Reuer began a five-run Tiger rally with a leadoff double and scored on an RBI single from Smith that trimmed the Charlotte lead to three runs.
Gesell walked to give Memphis runners at first and second with sophomore left fielder Josh Payne coming to the plate. Payne sent a 1-0 fastball from 2001 C-USA Pitcher of the Year John Maine over the left field fence to knot the score at nine apiece with no outs.
Fik doubled down the right field line and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman shortstop Brent Dlugach. Scott followed Dlugach with a double in the left-center gap to give the Tigers their first lead of the night at 10-9.
Charlotte answered with a run in the top of the eighth, but Payne - who moved from left field to pitcher in the eighth - struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to preserve the tie.
Scott then drew a one-out walk in the home half of the ninth and moved to second after junior right fielder Paul Cookman walked with two outs. Junior James Rouse came in to pinch run for Scott and scored the game-winner on Reuer's two-out single to center field.
The win snaps a 10-game Conference USA losing streak for the Tigers and eliminates any chance of a C-USA Tournament berth for Charlotte.
Freshman right-hander Daniel de Armas allowed two runs and struck out four over 6.0 innings of relief and Payne picked-up his first win of the season after allowing just one hit and striking out two over 2.0 innings.
Reuer and Gesell each had three hits as the pair was a combined 6-for-8 with four runs and three RBI. Smith was 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. The White Station High graduate is batting .378 with seven home runs and 17 RBI over his last 10 games and has climbed to second on the U of M career home runs list. In all, six Tigers had two or more hits.
Memphis is back in action on Friday when it hosts Charlotte in game two of a three-game Conference USA series at Nat Buring at 7 p.m.