April 1, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Memphis rode a big scoring inning in both games of the doubleheader to defeat No. 29 Southern Miss, 7-5, and, 8-5, in completing a three-game sweep of the Golden Eagles, Sunday, at Nat Buring Stadium.
The two teams played a pair of seven-inning games due to Saturday's tilt being rained out.
The Golden Eagles (17-12 overall 1-5 C-USA) have now dropped six straight - their longest losing streak since a seven-straight strong of losses during the 2001 campaign. The league series sweep was the first suffered by the Golden Eagles since losing all three games at Tulane (5/12-14) last season. It was also the first time Southern Miss was swept by Memphis since the 1999 season.
A couple of Southern Miss miscues in the second game led to a three-run sixth for the Tigers (17-11, 3-3), as they broke open a 5-5 deadlock. After a double, a walk and a popout, the Golden Eagles had a chance to get out of the inning. Bailey Hartel was hit a routine ground ball that he had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, which led to the bases being loaded. Will Petersen then hit a bouncer to the third base side that relief pitcher J.R. Ballinger fielded and threw home in time to get the lead runner, but the home plate umpire ruled that catcher Eddie Burger did not have his foot on the plate to allow the go-ahead run to score.
Bill Moss and Joey Lieberman each added RBI singles to complete the inning's scoring and give the Tigers all the insurance runs they needed.
The Golden Eagles had jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the opening frame as Trey Cuevas started things with a run-scoring double, before scoring himself on a single by Jody Blount.
Memphis tied the game with two runs in the fourth, but the Golden Eagles added another tally one frame later on Cuevas' second homer of the day. Cuevas went 3-for-4 in the doubleheader with six RBIs and now has five home runs on the season.
The Tigers retook the lead at 5-3 on a three-run homer from Moss, his ninth of the campaign, in the bottom of the fifth, before Southern Miss again tied the score with two more runs in the sixth. Eddie Burger plated Hartel with a double for the first run, who had doubled himself to start the rally, while James Ewing used a bases-load walk to tie the score. That was all the runs Southern Miss could muster as they left bases loaded to end the inning.
Memphis reliever Will Hudgens (3-0) captured the win by not allowing a run or hit over 2/3 of an inning with three walks and a strikeout, while Matt Yokley got the final two outs to record his second save of the day and third for the season. Southern Miss relief pitcher Patrick Ezell (2-2) allowed three unearned runs on two hits and a walk with a strikeout over an inning of work to suffer the loss.
In the first game, with the game tied at 1-1, the Golden Eagles exploded for three runs in the third. Brian Dozier opened the inning with an infield single before Trey Sutton reached on a catcher's interference. Cuevas then blasted a home run to centerfield to give the Golden Eagles the lead. Cuevas also drove in the Eagles first run in the opening frame with a sacrifice fly.
After Memphis cut the gap to 4-2 in the bottom half of the third, the Tigers exploded for five runs in the fifth to put the game out of reach. Kyle Norrid led off the stanza with a single and then went to second on a single from Adam Amar, who paced Memphis with three of its game's 15 hits. After a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up a base, Ben Grisham was walked to load the bases.
Chris Kirkland then started the scoring with a RBI single, before K.K. Chalmers followed with a two-run double and Petersen added a two-RBI single to end the scoring.
Burger, who now has hit safely in eight straight games, cut the margin to one run with a RBI single in the sixth. The Eagles, which left seven runners stranded in each game of the twinbill, left the bases loaded to end the inning.
Memphis starter Scott McGregor (1-1) gave up five runs (four earned) over 5 1/3 on eight his and one walk with three strikeouts to garner the victory, while Southern Miss reliever Tyler Conn (0-1) gave up five runs on six hits over an inning of work with a walk to suffer the loss. Yokley gave up just one hit over the final 1 2/3 with two punchouts to get credit for the save.
The Golden Eagles return to action, Tuesday, when they entertain Nicholls State in a 6:30 p.m. contest at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field. Tickets are available for the game at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or via the internet at SouthernMiss.com.