Tiger Baseball Holds Off No. 5 Southern Miss 8-5, Advances to Semi-final Matchup With No. 1 Rice
May 26, 2006
No. 4 Memphis (32-27) 101 040 020 - 8 12 2 No. 5 Southern Miss (38-21) 040 001 000 - 5 11 1
Adam Amar's three-run double highlighted a four-run fifth inning and helped propel No. 4 seed Memphis to an 8-5 win over No. 5 seed Southern Miss during an elimination game at the 2006 Conference USA Championship at Reckling Park.
Trailing 4-2 entering the top of the fourth inning, the Tigers used back-to-back leadoff singles from Cory Barton and K.K. Chalmers to start the rally. After a flyout and intentional walk to Bill Moss, Amar cleared the bases with a double to right center to hand Memphis its first lead of the game.
"Well, it's another typical game - that's the way our wins have been all year." Memphis head coach Daron Schoenrock. "We have to create momentum in different ways. We've been a big-inning team and kind of deny the big inning."
Two batters later, Robbie Goss slapped an RBI-single into left field to plate Amar and hand the Tigers a 6-4 cushion. USM pulled to within a run in the sixth inning when Marc Maddox laced an RBI-single up the middle to score Bo Davis.
In the eighth inning, Memphis added two insurance runs thanks to RBI-singles from Cory Barton and Chalmers for an 8-6 lead. Those runs would be important as USM threatened in its final at bat. The Golden Eagles used leadoff singles from Maddox and Toddric Johnson to bring the tying run to the plate, but Tiger reliever Matt Yokley induced a flyout and struck out the final two batters to end the rally and the game.
Memphis' Dusty Davis allowed only one run off six hits with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings out of the bullpen to collect the win and improve to 4-1. Yokley picked up his second save after scattering two hits over the final three shutout innings. USM starter Cliff Russum collected the loss and fell to 7-6 after giving up six runs (five earned) off eight hits with a pair of strikeouts in five innings.
Moss went 3-for-4 with a double, run and RBI to lead the Tigers, who outhit USM 12-11. Chalmers went 2-for-5 with two runs, an RBI and two stolen bases to boost his theft total to 39, tying the Memphis single-season record. Goss went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, while Barton finished the night 2-for-3 with a run and RBI.
Maddox batted 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Johnson went 2-for-5 to lead USM. Outfielder Drew Carson went 2-for-5 with a run and outfielder Jody Blount batted 2-for-4 with a run and RBI in the losing effort.
With the win, the Tigers improved to 32-27 overall and advanced to the C-USA Championship semifinals against No. 1 seed Rice at 12:30 p.m., Saturday. Memphis must defeat Rice twice on Saturday to advanced Sunday's championship game.
Southern Miss fell to 38-21 overall and must now wait for the NCAA Selection Show at 11:30 a.m. (CDT), Monday, on ESPN to learn its postseason fate. It was the first time in the 11-year history of the C-USA Championship that the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals.
USM appeared to grab the momentum early in the game. Memphis starter Ben Grisham ran into control problems in the second, walking three Golden Eagles and hitting another. Those pitching miscues, combined with three singles, led to a four-run frame for Southern Miss. An interference call on a ground ball resulted in a double play, but Trey Sutton came through with a two-out single to score a pair of runs to make up for the base-running mistake.