Defense, Pitching Key Tigers 2-0 Win Over Arkansas State
Feb. 19, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Arkansas State (4-0) rallied from a 2-0 deficit with two outs in the ninth inning to defeat Memphis (1-3) 3-2 in 10 innings at FedExPark on Tuesday afternoon.
Trailing 2-0 in the ninth, Arkansas State used back-to-back walks to start the rally. A sacrifice bunt moved both to scoring position, but Tiger closer Jonathan Van Eaton followed with a called third strike to put two outs on the board. Collin Massanelli came through with a two RBI single to right field to knot the score at 2-2. A walk pushed the potential go-ahead run to second, but Van Eaton limited the damage with a fly out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
A one-out hit by pitch didn’t hurt Arkansas State in the bottom of the ninth. Logan Uxa started the extra frame with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a RBI single by Ryan Emery to set the final of 3-2.
Drew Griffin led off the bottom of the 10th with a single to right-centerfield and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch moved him to third, but ASU closer Tanner Ring struck out the Tiger batter to leave the runner at third with two outs. A fly out in foul territory near third base ended the game with ASU closer Tanner Ring getting the save.
The Tigers gave starter Michael Wills a lead in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI groundout by Bryce Beeler. A one-out walk to Carter White followed by a Drew Griffin double put two runners in scoring position. Beeler drove in his second run of the season with the groundout to first that allowed White to score.
Beeler, the fourth different leftfielder this season, made his presence known in the third as he recorded his first career outfield assist. ASU got the inning started with a leadoff single and moved the runner to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. A walk put two runners on with one out, but Wills struck out the next batter he faced. Zach George singled to left field and Dustin Jones rounded third to score, but the relay throw from Beeler to Griffin to the catcher Rupiper was in time to end the inning.
Wills walked the ASU leadoff man in the fourth, but worked out of trouble to keep Memphis in the lead 1-0. The Red Wolves called for the sacrifice bunt for the second-straight inning after the leadoff man reached. With Claude Johnson on second, Stuart Levy sent a fly ball to the gap in left centerfield, but Memphis centerfielder Ford Wilson made the diving grab for the second out. Wills fanned his fourth ASU batter of the afternoon to end the top half of the fourth.
The Red Wolves didn’t get the leadoff man on in the fifth, but ASU managed to get runners on the corners with one out in an attempt to take the lead. Wills recorded his sixth strikeout of the afternoon to retire Massanelli on a seven-pitch at-bat. The Tigers went to the bullpen and reliever Conner Porter force a pop fly on the infield to end the jam and strand ASU’s third runner in scoring position on the day.
ASU again threatened in the sixth, but the Memphis defense came through with a big play to end the inning. Logan Uxa reached on a one-out single and would have moved to second on a groundout to first by Levy, but Levy was called out for interference running to first. Emery singled to right field, but Ethan Gross took the relay throw from right and threw to Carter White covering second to get the final out of the inning.
Memphis put runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, but failed to get another run on the board. Beeler led off the inning with a single and Colton Simbeck was hit by a pitch to put two on with no out. Nate Rupiper laid down the sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but Beeler was thrown out at the plate on a groundout to short. With runners on the corners and two outs, ASU starter Bradley Wallace induced a ground out short to end the inning.
The Tigers added to the lead in the seventh with the help of an Arkansas State miscue. Ford Wilson led off the frame and hit a towering popup on the infield. The Red Wolves first baseman misplayed the pop fly and Wilson took advantage by running to second. Willis bunted down the third base line to move Wilson to third with one out. White picked up the clutch RBI with a single to center, his second RBI of the season.
Porter pitched two and a third innings before taking the mound for the eighth. The junior right-hander got the first two outs of the frame, but back-to-back two-out singles forced the Tigers back to the bullpen. Freshman Craig Caufield struck out the first batter he faced to end the inning and strand the fifth Red Wolves base runner in scoring position on the game.
The Tigers were led offensively by White and Willis who each had two hits on the day. White and Beeler drove in the two Tiger runs, but Arkansas State out-hit Memphis 12-7 on the afternoon. Clayton Gant allowed one run on two hits in the 10th and was saddled with the loss. Wills, Porter and Caufield combined for eight shutout innings with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Game Notes – DH Michael Sillyman made his first career start in Tuesday’s game … LF Bryce Beeler is the fourth different starting left fielder this season … Drew Griffin hit a double in the first inning and has hit safely in all four games this season … Michael Wills struck out six in his start, two shy of tying his career high of eight … Zach Willis picked up his second hit in the fifth inning, marking his second game with two or more hits this season and sixth of his career … Carter White had two hits for the second-straight game, his ninth career multi-hit game … The Tigers played an extra-inning game for the first time since May 18, 2012 at Houston.