CLEARWATER, Fla. – No. 8 seed Memphis hit four home runs on the way to an 11-1, 7-inning victory over top seed East Carolina in the second game of the 2021 American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship.
It is the fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship that the No. 1 seed has fallen to the No. 8 seed in the quarterfinal round (2019 – Wichita State over East Carolina, 2018 – Tulane over Houston, 2017 – East Carolina over USF).
The Tigers (18-37) used big innings in the third (five runs) and fifth (four runs) to outpace the Pirates (38-14). Hunter Goodman, Alec Trela and Austin Baskin each had two hits and two runs driven in, while Ian Bibiloni and Taylor Howell each drove in two more.
The four home runs by the Tigers ties a championship single-game record with Cincinnati in 2019 (vs. UConn) and UCF in 2014 (vs. Houston).
Carson Stinnett (4-5) earned the win after allowing one run in 6.1 innings of work with three strikeouts, while closer Takoda Metoxen came on in a non-save situation and stuck out the final two Pirates. Tyler Smith (2-3) took the loss after giving up 5 runs in 2.1 innings.
With the win, Memphis moves on to face No. 5 UCF on Thursday, May 27 at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT. With the loss, East Carolina will play No. 4 Cincinnati in an elimination game on Wednesday, May 26 at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT.
The American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Connor Norby started the game off by hitting the second pitch of the bottom of the first over the left-field fence to give East Carolina a 1-0 lead, but it was the only ECU hit until the fourth inning.
Memphis snagged the lead in the second on a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a 2-run double by Hunter Goodman. Baskin drove in Goodman with a single to center to make it 5-1.
In the fifth inning, Memphis’ Trela, Baskin and Howell hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to push the lead to 9-1. The Tigers pushed two more across in the seventh on a solo home run by Bibiloni and a sacrifice fly by Howell.