Tiger Baseball Clinches C-USA Tournament Berth With 5-4 Victory Over Cincinnati
May 16, 2004
Memphis, Tenn. - Senior Day proved to be special for everyone involved with the University of Memphis baseball team as the Tigers wrapped up a sweep of Cincinnati rallying for a 5-4 win Sunday at Nat Buring Stadium. With the win, the Tigers (25-25, 13-13 C-USA) clinched a spot in the upcoming Conference USA Baseball Tournament to be played May 26-30 in Houston, Texas.
The win over the Bearcats (13-38, 5-22 C-USA) also secured the 100th victory in Dave Anderson's four years at the helm of the program. "This was a big win for us," Anderson said. "Reaching the tournament was our goal entering the season and we're excited about getting back there after missing it the last two years. We have given ourselves a chance to get to a (NCAA) regional now."
Leftfielder Ryan Martin drove in the game-winning run with a RBI-single up the middle scoring senior James Rouse in the seventh and junior Michael Novarese (2-2) tossed three scoreless innings in relief without allowing a hit to notch the win.
Memphis starter Bill Edwards left after six innings with a 2-0 lead allowing just two hits and pitching out of a bases loaded jam in his final inning of work. Edwards fanned six Bearcats in the game.
However, it appeared like the Bearcats might spoil the special afternoon as the visitors claimed a 4-2 lead in the seventh after batting around on three different Memphis relievers. UC scored all four of their runs in the frame taking advantage of four hits, a Tiger error and a hit batsman.
Novarese, the third Tiger reliever of the inning, surrendered a sacrifice fly to UC catcher Steve Pickerell before retiring the next two Bearcats to keep the Tigers within two runs of Cincinnati.
Senior second baseman Michael Lewis promptly led off the Tigers' half of the seventh with a solo home run to start the three-run rally. Chad House followed by reaching on an infield single and Rouse was hit by pitch. Both runners advanced a base on a wild pitch by UC reliever Tony Maynard setting up a RBI-groundout by catcher Kurt Welch that knotted the game at four. Martin then drove in Rouse with his second hit of the series. Maynard (2-6) was tagged with his second loss of the series.
Rouse played a big part in the Tigers' victory offensively and defensively after entering the game in the first inning when starting third baseman Bill Moss was hit in the helmet by UC starter Jim Olds. The senior from Tampa, Fla., reached base safely in all three of his at bats and drove in his first run of the season. Rouse also made four nice plays in the field.
The Bearcat right-hander continued to struggle with his control in the third and it ended up costing the Bearcats a run. After Olds hit two more Tigers, Rouse stepped to plate for his first at-bat in over a month and laced the first pitch he saw into left field to drive in the game's first run.
Memphis tacked on a run to take a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Adam Amar doubled to right-center scoring Kyle Scott from first. Scott reached on a two-out single through the left side. Mark Muscenti, Elliot Salcedo and Jack Nelson each had RBI singles for the Bearcats in the seventh.
The Tigers host their final home game of the season Tuesday against UT-Martin at Nat Buring Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.