Seven-run Deficit to Much in Tigers 7-3 Loss to Houston
May 25, 2012
PEARL, Miss. - Houston (18-35-1) took a 7-0 lead into the seventh inning, but Memphis' (31-27) attempt at a comeback fell short as Houston claimed a 7-3 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Trustmark Park.
Memphis clinched a spot in the C-USA Championship game on Thursday with a win over No. 4 Rice and will play UAB in the title game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
A two-out walk proved costly for the Tigers in the second as the Cougars recorded the first hit of the contest to drive in the first run in the game. Price Jacobs drew the two-out walk, stole second and scored on a RBI single by Codey Morehouse.
Houston scored three runs in the fourth to give starter Matt Hernandez a comfortable 4-0 lead. A leadoff single and error put runners on the corners with one out and the three-run inning began with two more RBI by Morehouse. Landon Appling drove in Morehouse with a single to center to make the score 4-0.
The Cougars added another three-spot in the fifth to increase the margin to 7-0 in support of Hernandez. Back-to-back bunt singles put two on to start the frame and a walk loaded the bases. Jacob Luenburg drove in two with a single up the middle and Houston added another with a RBI groundout by Price Jacobs.
Memphis chipped into the lead with a two-run sixth, but Hernandez got out of the inning with a pickoff move. Ethan Gross got it started with a single and Jacob Wilson followed with his 64th career double to tie for first in program history. A wild pitch allowed Gross to score the Tigers first run of the night and Wilson later scored on a fielder's choice.
The Tigers had the potential tying run at the plate twice in the seventh inning, but failed to cut the deficit further after making the score 7-3. A bases loaded walk crossed the Tigers third run, but two strikeouts with the bases full ended the Tigers hopes of tying the game in the seventh inning.
Memphis reliever Dylan Toscano allowed one run on one hit in the fifth, but settled in and retired the next 12 batters to keep the Tigers within striking distance. Michael Wills was saddled with the loss as he allowed six runs, five earned, on eight hits in four innings of work. Hernandez picked up the win as he went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits. Chase Wellbrock earned a save as he allowed no runs on one hit in 2.2 innings of relief.
Memphis is set to play seventh-seeded UAB in the Conference USA Championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. UAB closes pool play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against East Carolina, but the Blazers have already clinched a spot in the championship game.