May 18, 2006
MEMPHIS, TENN. - Joey Lieberman hit a walk-off grand slam to give Memphis a 9-6 win over East Carolina at Nat Buring Stadium in Conference USA play Thursday night.
With the loss the Pirates fall to 32-22 overall and 10-11 in league play while Memphis improves to 28-26 overall and 11-11 in C-USA. The Pirates are currently in sixth place in the league standings with two games left to play, while Memphis and Southern Miss are tied for fourth.
Trailing by one run in the bottom of the ninth, Memphis' Bill Moss singled to left field with one out to get the Tiger rally going. Adam Amar followed Moss' at-bat with a single to center field, and then Kyle Norrid moved over Moss and Patrick Pope, who ran for Amar, to load the bases setting up Lieberman's grand slam to left-center.
Dusty Davis picked up his third win of the year improving to 3-1 after working five innings in relief and allowing three runs on seven hits with a career-high seven strikeouts. Memphis starter Philip Utley lasted four innings giving up three runs on ten hits.
Jason Neitz suffered his first loss the 2003 season after allowing four runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings. Brody Taylor worked into the eighth inning for the sixth time this season. He finished with seven innings pitched, allowed five runs on ten hits and struck out five Tiger batters.
Memphis had five batters collected multiple hits on the night and were led by Moss' 4-for-5 performance from the plate. Norrid finished with three hits, one RBI and two runs, while K.K. Chalmers, Ben Grisham and Cory Barton each had two hits. Lieberman and Norrid were joined by Will Petersen as Tigers who hit home runs in the game.
Offensively for the Pirates, Harrison Eldridge collected his second four-hit game of the season to lead ECU. Brandon Henderson was 3-for-5 with one run and Dale Mollenhauer, Jake Smith, Jay Mattox and Jake Dean each had two-hit performances.
ECU plated three runs in the top of the second to take an early 3-0 lead. Ryan Tousley extended his hit streak to 13-games with his single to left field that scored Henderson from first. Mattox roped his fourth triple of the season scoring Tousley for the second run and then Mattox crossed home on a passed ball to close out the scoring.
Barton put the Tigers on the board with a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the third to make the game 3-1 in favor of ECU.
Petersen cranked his eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot to center field, to tie the game at three in the bottom of the fifth.
ECU answered Memphis scoring two runs in the top of the sixth to pull ahead 5-3. Mattox scored the first run of the inning on Eldridge's third hit of the game a single to center. Eldridge then scored from first on Mollenhauer's second double of the game down the right field line.
Moss' infield single to third scored Ben Grisham to cut the lead to one, 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh.
Norrid picked up his fourth homer of the season with a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the eighth to knot the game at five.
In the top of the ninth Eldridge roped a double down the right field line, his fourth hit of the game, to put the Pirates in scoring position. A sacrifice bunt by Mollenhauer moved Eldridge to third. Smith followed with an intentional walk and Adam Witter's single to left center scored Eldridge giving ECU a 6-5 lead.
The Pirates and Tigers will play game two of the three-game series Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. (EST).