Memphis Throttles (9)ECU 11-1
ECU came into Tuesday’s first round AAC Tournament game against Memphis with high hopes of getting things back on the right track after losing a pair of games to close out the regular season. Instead it was more of the same for the Pirates on Tuesday in an 11-1 mercy rule loss to the eighth seeded Tigers in Clearwater, Florida.
The Pirates have been outscored 26-3 over the last three contests and now find themselves having to battle their way back from the loser’s bracket.
Connor Stinnett(4-6) got the start and the win for Memphis, lasting six and a third innings with just one earned run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts in 88 pitches.
Connor Norby came in leading the nation in hits and his 90th hit of the season was a first inning home run to left field that gave ECU an early 1-0 lead. It would prove to be the Pirates’ only run of the contest.
Three walks and a hit batter later in the third inning from Pirate starter Tyler Smith and Memphis tied the game before an Ion Bibilini pop fly to centerfield made it 2-0. Hunter Goodman followed that with a double down the left field line to score two more runs and it was quickly 4-1 Tigers.
Smith was effectively done for the day in two and a third innings after giving up four runs and five earned runs officially. ECU brought on right-hander Cam Colmore when Austin Baskin’s base hit to centerfield got Hunter Goodman across home plate from second base for the Tigers’ fifth run of the inning in a 5-1 contest.
ECU right-hander Garrett Saylor came on to replace Colmore, who officially gave up a hit and a walk, to open the fourth inning before the Pirates left a pair of base runners stranded in the bottom of the frame.
Memphis struck again in the fifth on an Alec Trelia two-run home run to left as the Tiger lead grew to 7-1. That was followed by a Austin Baskin homer that expanded the lead to a touchdown. Then in case that wasn’t enough, Taylor Howell sailed another one deep for the Tiger’s third consecutive home run, good for a 9-1 lead.
After fruitless fifth and six innings for ECU offensively, Nick Logusch came on in the fifth for Garrett Saylor who gave up four runs in 29 pitches for ECU.
Logusch managed to dispatch three straight Memphis betters to get out of the Tiger half of the sixth. But in the Memphis half of the seventh inning, things got even worse for ECU when Ian Bibiloni homered to left to put the Tigers in double-figures at 10-1.
Danny Beal entered in relief of Logusch in the seventh when the lead grew to 11-1 on a Taylor Howell sacrifice fly to left that allowed Goodman to score from third base. Later in the inning the Tigers loaded the base, but Beal was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.
Worrell and Starling base hits in the bottom of the sevenh led to Takoda Metoxin entering in relief of Stinnett who lasted 88 pitches and six and a third innings on the mound for Memphis before ECU left a pair of runners stranded on first and second to end the game on the ten-run mercy rule.
ECU(38-14) will now take on 4th seeded Cincinnati(29-25) on Wednesday at 3 pm. The Bearcats lost to fifth seeded UCF 14-10 on Tuesday. The loser of Wednesday's matchup faces AAC Tournament elimination.