Tigers top Pirates, 5-2, to even series
East Carolina will meet Memphis at 2 p.m. in Sunday's rubber match
Memphis received seven-plus strong innings from southpaw Sam Moll and the Tiger offense pounded out 12 hits to produce a 5-2 win over visiting East Carolina on Saturday at FedExPark.
The Tigers (16-19, 6-5) threatened in the second as Wilson and Hynes delivered consecutive singles to start the inning. They were moved into scoring position via a sac bunt, but the Pirates' starter Tyler Joyner struck out Tubbs before getting Simbeck to ground out to end the scoring chance.
However, after coming up empty-handed in the second, Memphis managed to plate a run in the third on a two-out single by Adam McClain.
The Tigers tacked on another run in the fourth when Tucker Tubbs delivered a solo shot to left center with two down.
East Carolina (24-10-1, 7-3-1) knotted the game with two runs on four hits in the fifth.
Zach Wright led off with a single and advanced to second on an error by Memphis right fielder Derrick Thomas. Wright scored on Jack Reinheimer's one-out single. Philip Clark and Tim Younger came through with two-out singles to score Reinheimer and even the game at 2-2.
Memphis took the lead for good in the sixth.
The Tigers received consecutive singles by Adam McClain and Jacob Wilson before Eli Hynes walked to load the bases with no outs. After Derrick Thomas singled to make it 3-2, ECU starter Tyler Joyner was replaced by Andy Smithmyer. Smithmyer allowed a sac fly to Tucker Tubbs that extended the advantage to 4-2, but the Pirate reliever limited the damage by forcing the Tigers to strand three.
In the eighth, ECU had the tying run in scoring position, but the Pirates were unable to push those runs across. Tim Younger led off with a single and after fouling off several pitches Jay Cannon reached on an error. Corey Thompson bunted them to second and third, but newly inserted reliever Jonathan Van Eaton retired John Wooten and Zach Wright to preserve the lead at 4-2.
Memphis managed to add an insurance run when Derrick Thomas led off the bottom of the eighth with a no doubter to left center.
Van Eaton, who retired all five batters he faced, sat the Pirates down in order in the ninth to record his third save.
Tigers' starter Sam Moll, who allowed two runs on nine hits in 7.1 innings, improved to 4-3 with the victory.
Tyler Joyner, who allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings, suffered his first loss and fell to 5-1.
Gross, McClain, Wilson, and Thomas had two-hit days for the Tigers, who outhit the Pirates, 12-9.
Younger, Wright, and Reinheimer had two hits each for ECU.
The series will conclude with Sunday's rubber game. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. (EST) at FedExPark.