Hunter Goodman and Alec Trela both hit home runs and drove in three runs each lifting Memphis to a series finale win at No. 6 ECU Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Tigers close out the regular season 27-16 overall and 10-13 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Pirates finish 42-13 on the year and 20-4 in league action.
With the game tied a four-all in the fifth inning, Memphis scored three runs in the top of the fifth for a 7-4 lead – its second of the game – and never trailed again. Starter Tyler Smith got two quick outs in the frame before he issued a walk to Kyle Ouellette and was pulled for reliever Gavin Williams. Cale Hennemann drew a walk from Williams and Trela followed with a three-run homer, his fifth of the season, giving the Tigers a three-run advantage
Hunter Smith (5-7) got the win despite allowing five runs (all earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Colton Neel notched his 10th save of the year giving up one run (earned) on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.2 frames. Walker Brockhouse (0.2 IP, 2 Rs, 2 BBs) and Takoda Metoxen (1.2 IP, 2 R, 2 Ks) also worked out of the bullpen bridging the gap to Neel.
Smith (7-1) suffered his first loss of the season allowing five runs (all earned) on five hits with a pair of walks and four punch outs. Williams surrendered two runs (both earned) on one hit with a walk and a strikeout in one-third of an inning. ECU also got outings from Zach Barnes (1.0 IP, 3 Rs, 1 K), Cam Colmore (1.2 IP, 0 Rs, 2 BBs) and Evan Voliva (1.1 IP, 1 BB, 3 Ks).
The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning taking their first lead of the series, 3-0. Henneman’s two-RBI single up the middle plated Ben Brooks and Neel with one out. With Ouellette standing on third and Henneman on first, Memphis executed a double steal where Ouellette score the third run of the stanza.
ECU responded with a pair of runs in the second and third frames for a 4-3 lead. Thomas Francisco’s base hit through the right side scored Alec Burleson and Conor Norby followed with shot through the left side plating Washer. In the third, Burleson’s two-run homer to right field scored Spencer Brickhouse in front of him accounting for both runs.
Burleson’s second home run of the game, a solo shot to right field, pulled the Pirates within two at 7-5 in the fifth. But the Tigers got that run back along with two more in the sixth pushing its lead to five, 10-5. Goodman’s three-run shot scored Jason Santana and Neel in front of him.
The Pirates plated a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth making it a 10-7 ball game. Brickhouse’s two-RBI double down the left field line pushed across Bryant Packard and Brady Lloyd.
ECU scored a run in the eighth on Ryder Giles’ first career home run, a shot to right field, and another in the ninth on Packard’s RBI single to right. With Dusty Baker standing on third and Packard on second, Lloyd grounded out to shortstop to end ECU’s potential tying and winning run.
Memphis tallied nine hits on the day getting two from Henneman, who was 2-or-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Goodman and Trela each added three-run homers, while five others added a hit.
The Pirates pounded out 14 hits on the afternoon marking the 29th time they have registered double-digit hits in a game. Burleson was 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Brickhouse, Francisco and Jake Washer each added a pair of base knocks.
ECU will return to action on Tuesday, May 21st when it takes on Wichita State in the first round of the 2019 AAC Baseball Championships in Clearwater, Fla. First pitch is slated for approximately 12:30 p.m. (ET).