Huelsing, Memphis end East Carolina’s season with walk-off homerun
Tigers conclude season with tournament win over Pirates
Third-seeded Memphis had been eliminated from contention for the championship game prior to today’s game against pod member No. 6 East Carolina.
However, one would have never known with the way the Tigers fought the Pirates—who were playing for their season and a chance to play for the title on Saturday.
East Carolina (32-27) got the start it needed in the first when John Wooten delivered a one out single and Kyle Roller followed with a long homer to right to make it 2-0.
The Tigers (28-30) cut their deficit in half in the second. Rick Russell and Shawn Ablett started the inning with back-to-back singles. After Derrick Thomas struck out, Trey Wiedman singled to center to score Russell.
It looked like the Pirates might add to their lead in the fourth, but Brennon Martin was able to escape the first and second, no out jam by retiring the final three batters he faced in the inning.
Martin propelled that momentum into last five innings, as he faced the minimum and kept giving the Tigers chance after chance to take the lead.
The Tigers’ Drew Martinez delivered a one out double into the right field corner in the seventh. ECU head coach Billy Godwin then opted to intentionally walk Chad Zurcher, who was 3-for-3 on the day. With the tying run 90 feet away, Tyler Huelsing botched a squeeze play and Martinez was a dead duck for the second out. Huelsing proceeded to strikeout on a curveball in the dirt for the third out.
East Carolina escaped more trouble in the eighth. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out, but couldn’t scratch. Seth Simmons struck out Wiedman on a pitch in the dirt for out two and McClain chopped it into a fielder’s choice to end another threat.
Simmons struck out Memphis leadoff man Drew Martinez to open the ninth, but then Chad Zurcher’s slow roller was booted by Corey Thompson and suddenly the Tigers had the tying run on with one out.
The Pirates wouldn’t dodge another bullet, as Simmons’ 1-0 offering to Tyler Huelsing was launched into the right field trees to lift Memphis to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Brennon Martin, who allowed just two hits over the final eight innings, struck out nine and improved to 5-6 with the win.