Tiger Baseball Thumps Southern Miss 10-5 In C-USA Tournament Opener
May 26, 2004
HOUSTON - The sixth-seeded Memphis baseball team wasted little time serving up the first upset of the Conference USA Tournament Wednesday morning by sending third-seeded Southern Miss to the loser's bracket with a 10-5 victory in game one at Cougar Field. Rightfielder Jordan Hart led a 17-hit Tiger offense as he tied a tournament record with five hits including a pair of solo home runs.
Starter Jarrett Grube did the job on the mound for the Tigers (29-26) as the first-team All C-USA selection limited the Golden Eagles to just seven hits and three earned runs in 6.1 innings. Grube fanned 10 USM batters and walked just two to pick up his ninth win of the season. Grube is the fifth C-USA hurler to reach double-digits in strikeouts in a tournament game.
"We put everything together in today's win," Head Coach Dave Anderson said. "We got great pitching from Grube, our offense came through with some big two-out hits and our defense was outstanding. We did a lot of little things today that led to some big innings for us and kept them from getting started offensively."
The 10 runs were the most ever scored by a Memphis squad in 12 previous C-USA Tournament games. Hart, who was the 12th C-USA player to homer twice in a tournament game, drove in a team-high three runs while catcher Kurt Welch, DH Ryan Martin and first baseman Kyle Scott each added two RBI.
Memphis jumped out of the gates quickly, plating a trio of runs on three hits in the first off USM starter Cliff Russum. Chad House led off the game with his first of three singles in the contest and came around to score on a RBI-single by Welch. Martin followed with a sac fly to score Brent Dlugach and Scott drove in the third run with a single.
The Golden Eagles retaliated with three hits of their own in the first, but could plate just two runs to within a run after a wild opening inning. The Tigers threatened in the second loading the bases with one out, but Dlugach hit a liner that found Russum's glove and he was able to turn the easy double play to get of the jam.
Southern Miss knotted the game at three in third despite Grube striking out four batters in the frame. Hart quickly put the Tigers back in the lead blasting his first homer of the game with one out in the Tigers' half of the fourth. The Tigers would never trail again as Grube got out of jam in the fourth inducing the league's top RBI-man Jarrett Hoffpauir left two men on base as he fouled out to Scott to end the frame .
Dlugach ripped a single into left to start a three-run inning for the Tigers in the seventh. Memphis would need the runs as Payne drove in what proved to be the deciding run with a double off USM reliever Adam Smith. Payne, Martin and Hart each had RBI-hits in the pivotal inning.
After retiring the first batter in the seventh, Grube allowed a hit and a walk before being replaced by reliever Corey Kines. USM catcher Brad Wilcutt hit a soft-liner to Michael Lewis at second who caught the ball and quickly tagged second to retire the side on a much-needed double play.
The Tigers tacked on two more runs in the eighth on a suicide squeeze play and a RBI-single by Scott. Hart added one more insurance run in the ninth with his second home run of the game. The Cordova, Tenn., native joined three other players who have posted five-hit games in C-USA tournament action. Craig House had the Tigers' last five-hit game during the 1997 season against Saint Louis.
Kines surrendered a two-run homer to Marc Maddox in the ninth, but the game was out of reach at the point. Maddox and shortstop Matt Shepherd each had three hits for the Golden Eagles. Russum took the loss falling to 6-3 on the season.
The Tigers will face the winner of game two between Tulane-UAB at 4 p.m. Thursday.