With ECU down 13-8 and runners on first and second in the 8th, Rice's ace Ryan Berry struck out three straight batters, ending the Pirate threat and inching the Owls closer to a C-USA Tournament championship repeat.
Rice's Jared Gayhart also hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th, hitting the taco bell sign in rigth field that gives all 3,810 in attendance a free taco if they visit a local taco bell!
Rice's 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh sort of took the wind out of ECU and this stadium's sails. Rice is now up 13-8 as we head to the 8th.
Aaron Luna, who will probably be named tournament MVP about an hour from now, and Joe Savery have continued to mount RBIs as only they can do. This Rice is team is very talented, and should make some noise in the NCAA Tournament, as it usually does. With Ryan Berry in the game and Cole St. Clair in the bullpen, a ECU comeback will be hard to come by.
The 3,810 people in Clark-LeClair Stadium today set a new record for an on-campus C-USA tournament game. The crowd has been great and the game hasn't dissapointed either, Rice is winning 10-8 in the seventh inning.
C-USA Championship: Things tightening up in Greenville
Things at the C-USA Championship have setted down after a slew of runs in the first couple of innings. It's Rice 10, ECU 8 after six innings.
Both teams have now brought in guys who have actually pitched a lot this season (hence why the runs have gone down). Neitz pitched well, stopped the bleeding for ECU, and Bailey Daniels is now in for the Pirates. C-USA Freshman-of-the-Year Ryan Berry pitching for Rice. Daniels has pitched in every game of the tournament for ECU, allowing no runs and Berry has a 10-2 record and 2.77 ERA.
The 16 Regional sites have been announced for next weekend's NCAA Tournament.
Host teams are: Arizona State, Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Long Beach State, Missouri, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Rice, San Diego, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A & M, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wichita State
As for the C-USA Championship, the game has settled down a little...Rice 9, ECU 8 in the 5th inning.
C-USA Championship: How did the leadoff guy not get on?
Diego Seastrunk of Rice flew out to ECU centerfielder Harrison Eldrige to begin the bottom of the third, marking the first time all game that the leadoff batter of a half inning didn't get on base. C'mon Diego!
Rice went down in order, yes in order...I repeat in order in the bottom of the third. We have 15 runs, 15 hits and 5 errors after 3 innings.
C-USA Championship: Anybody and everybody to the bullpen!
Rice and ECU are already both in the NCAA Tournament and seeds probably already determind, so neither team is willing to waste valuable pitchers today, as next weekend is more important for both teams.
Rice scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 2nd to take a 9-4 lead, yes 13 runs in only 2 innings and 9 in the second inning alone. This game will merely be a test of which depleted pitching staff can give up less runs. Rice has the upper hand, ECU had to use 3 pitchers in the first 2 innings.
I hope the game ends before tomorrow's selection show, so these teams will know where they will be playing next weekend!
We're off to a fast start here in Greenville, ECU scored three in the top of the first, and Rice reponsded by scoring one in the bottom half. This game is probably going to feature a lot of runs and a lot of different pitchers.
There's more fans here than I expected, possibly around 3400-3500, and they're loud! The atmospere is great, as ECU was pouring in runs off of Rice pitcher Bryan Price, who faced 9 batters in the top of the first, the stadium and the ECU dugout was rocking, byfar the loudest its been all tournament.
Rice has been in Omaha and is used to hostile enviroments, but the ECU fans and 3 runs in the top of the 1st has to put some type of pressure on the Owls.
The C-USA Championship game is about 30 minutes away from starting, and the game features the top two seeds, No. 1 Rice and No. 2 ECU.
Fans are starting to pour into the stadium, I expect around 3,000 here today. The top crowd in Clark-LeClair history is 5,523, which came earlier this season against hated rival N.C. State. I don't think today's attendance will come to close to that mark. It's hard for C-USA games to have 5,000 people for a game because the teams are so spread apart, and there are no natural rivalries (except for Rice/Houston).
ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin joked after ECU won, saying that we would love to see Memphis and Rice wear eachother out today, and i'm sure he's pleased with the results.
Rice and Memphis continue to score runs and waste pitches here at Clark-LeClair Stadium, and the second-seeded Pirates have to be loving it. Rice brought in its closer Cole St. Clair in the seventh inning because Memphis was trying to make a game of things, and St. Clair has thrown a lot of pitches today. Rice is probably going to win this game, but Memphis is getting people on base and raising St. Clair's pitch count and lowering the numbers of rest hours Rice will have before tomorrow's championship game at 1 p.m. This has been a long day for Rice, which surely benefits ECU.
Rice has 13 runs and 14 hits, Memphis has 9 runs and 17, repeat 17 hits, as we head to the ninth.
C-USA Tournament: Game continues, Memphis not quitting
Memphis scored 3 runs in the sixth and 1 in the seventh to eliminate the 10-run rule possibility and extend the day of baseball, much to the dismay of all the people in the press box that have been here since 8 a.m. this morning.
Memphis has had a stong offensive game with 7 runs and 13 hits, the problem is Rice has the same number of runs as Memphis hits.
Rice 13, Memphis 7 after seven innings, in a real "fast-paced, pitchers duel" here at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Aaron Luna just hit a grand slam in the 6th that was the longest home run all week. Luna's blast, which extended the Rice lead to 13-3, went well over the raised fence in straight away center at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Rice scored 6 runs in the 6th inning, and it looks like Rice will win this game, the question is now is whether it will last the full 9 innings, the 10-run rule could come into effect.
C-USA Tournament: No runs for Rice in the fifth, still in control though
Rice had a scoreless inning for the first time all game in the fifth, but is still winning 8-3 in the sixth inning.
It's only a 5-run deficit for Memphis, but Rice is cleary in control. Memphis has simply run out of pitching. The pace of the game and the sun is lulling the hundreds in the stands and the dozens in the press box to sleep.
One of the teams in tomorow's championship game is decided, the East Carolina Pirates. ECU, the tournament's host team, beat Tulane 9-4 to eliminate the Green Wave and advance to the championship game.
The announced attendance of 3,164 for the ECU-Tulane game is now the highest attended game of the tournament, the championship game tomorrow could very well break it though...especially if its ECU-Rice.
ECU 9, Tulane 4 as we go into the bottom of the ninth. Barring a lengthy comeback, the Pirates are first to punch their ticket to the C-USA championship game.
ECU's Drew Schieber just hit a opposite field solo home run to start the seventh inning and give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Corey Kemp followed with a looooong out that was caught by Tulane left fielder Anthony Scelfo at the wall. This ignited the ECU faithful, who started Purple and Gold chants that got pretty loud. The Pirate fans, and the Tulane fans that are here, are both making their presence felt despite the humid conditions.
The humidity is high here at Clark-LeClair Stadium, and just looking around the stadium, the fans have gotten clever. The thousands in attendance are using game programs, hats, parts of popcorn boxes and about anyting they can get their hands on to fan their faces, attempting to cool down as they watch a very good baseball game.
Tulane got a RBI single from Tim Guidry in the fifth to tie the ECU-Tulane game at 3. As Tulane's Grayden Granier slid into a home for the run, it looked like his leg didn't actually touch the plate and the ECU fans were yelling at the ECU players to appeal the play, but the home plate umpire confirmed his call by signaling safe and informing the ECU players and crowd that Granier did infact touch home plate. So now we have a tie game, 3-3, heading into the sixth.
It's getting hot here in eastern North Carolina. Weather.com says it's 84 degrees, but the humidity is high so it feels hotter. The press box is air conditioned well, but with the windows up you can feel the heat coming in, its got to be tough for the players out there.
Tulane's bats are starting to warm up as well, a solo home run in the third and another in the fourth have cut the deficit to 3-2 after four innings. This is a good game between two good programs, in a lively atmosphere both in the stands and on the field.
ECU's injured shortstop Dale Mollenhauer has been warming up right fielder Ryan Tousley inbetween innings.
Mollenhauer leads the Pirates in batting average and started ECU's first 44 games at shorstop and batted second in the batting order prior to breaking a bone in his throwing wrist. Mollenhauer pinch-ran in ECU's last game, but hasn't played in the field or batted in about a month. Coach Godwin said earlier this week that Mollenhauer took ground balls in ECU's final practice leading up to the C-USA Tournament, but was only throwing at 40-50%.
Memphis closer Matt Yokley entered the game with the bases loaded, 1 out in the 8th, and Rice's 20-game winning streak in tact. 1 2/3 innings later, Yokley ended the Owls' C-USA record winning streak and extended Memphis's tournament life.
Memphis just beat No. 1 Rice 2-1, handing the Owls their first ever C-USA Tournament loss. Rice went 4-0 in last year's tournament en route to the title, and it looked like this year would be a repeat, but fifth-seeded Memphis had other plans.
Memphis got great pitching from starter Will Hudgens, setup man Dusty Davis and closer Matt Yokley. Hudgens got the win, Yokley got the save, and Rice's Chris Kelley suffered the loss despite a solid performance.
Memphis coach Daron Schoenrock must have sensed a Rice rally coming after the Owls put up a run in the fifth, he took out starting pitcher Will Hudgens prior to the sixth inning, in favor of setup man Dusty Davis. Hudgens alowed three hits and one run in five innings.
Davis has a 7-3 record and 4.29 ERA in 19 relief appearances this season. Davis retired the first three batters in the sixth, good decision.
C-USA Tournament: No more perfect game, no-hitter, shutout
Rice's Chris Kelley was dominating with 2 outs in the 4th when disaster struck. Kelley had a perfect game going, with 7 K's. Memphis's Bill Moss blasted a solo homer, tying him with teamate Joey Lieberman for the conference lead in home runs with 13. Senior Adam Amar then sent Kelley's first offering over the right field fence for back-to-back solo shots.
Rice pitcher Chris Kelley is dominating right now, as he struck out two batters in each of the first 3 innings (that's 6 total for the math majors out there). Memphis has yet to record a hit, and Rice only has one.
As "Bring 'em out" was played over the PA system right before first pitch between No. 1 Rice and No. 5 Memphis, the Memphis dugout ignited a little and Assistant Coach Allen Osborne high-fived all the the players lined up in the front of the away dugout with emotion. As I said yesterday, Memphis is not intimidated by Rice and has a lot of confidence going into this game. Joey Lieberman told me yesterday that he thinks they have enough confidence to beat Rice.
The Tigers went down in order in top of the 1st though, Rice is coming up to bat.
Coach Graham has stuck to his word, Joe Savery is not pitching against Memphis...yet. Graham told me after Rice's first game that he would not pitch the C-USA Player-of-the-Year until a Rice elimination game. This sets things up perfectly for Rice if they beat Memphis at 9 a.m. today and are able to save Savery for tomorrow's championship game. No. 5 Memphis and No. 1 Rice will get started in about 30 minutes.
Rice is pitching junior Chris Kelley (3-2, 3.36 ERA). Memphis is throwing Will Hudgens (4-2, 5.59 ERA)
Tulane, the seven seed, eliminated No. 3 Southern Miss tonight, winning 6-2. Even though Tulane was the lower seed, the Green Wave looked like the better team and could make things interesting the rest of the way.
Third-seeded Southern Miss is coming to bat, down 6-1 in the 9th. Tulane's Preston Claiborne is still pitching for Tulane after getting the Green Wave out of a jam in the 8th. Barring a comeback, the 3rd and 4th seeded teams will be suprisingly eliminated, but Tulane's No. 7 is decieving, Tulane is a good program and isn't playing like the seventh best team in this conference right now.
Preston Claiborne just came in for Tulane senior Brandon Gomes with runners on first and second and no outs in the eighth. Gomes pitched very well, allowing six hits in seven innings. The senior only made one mistake all night, which was on USM's solo home run.
Tulane is up 6-1 with the Golden Eagles scrapping to make things interesting here in the top of the 8th.
C-USA Tournament: Tulane has breathing room, No. 3 seed in trouble
After Tim Guidry scored on a SAC fly in the bottom of the 6th, Tulane's Jared Dyer hit a 2-run home run that landed right infont of the scoreboard in right-center, extending the Tulane lead to 5-1. The fact that Souther Miss only has four hits in six innings doesn't bode well for its chances of a comeback. The third-seeded Golden Eagles have three innings left.
USM finally got some offense going in the top of the sixth when Michael Ewing hit a monsterous solo homer to start the inning. USM's offense is starting to figure out Brandon Gomes, the Golden Eagles are making solid contact, even when they get out.
All 3 runs in this game have come on solo home runs, Tulane is winning 2-1 as it comes up to bat in the bottom of the 6th.
Anthony Scelfo hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give the Green Wave an early 1-0 lead. Brandon Gomes is pitching well for Tulane, he has only allowed 1 hit in three innings. It's clear that see that USM is missing its catalyst in Trey Sutton, but there's still a lot of baseball left to play.
C-USA Tournament: Megaphone guys don't take the day off
The Clark-LeClair "megaphone" crew that vacates in "The Jungle" behind the left field fence and regularly attends ECU games is at the Tulane-USM game. At the ECU games, they are usually drowned out because their is a lot of other noise in the Stadium, but today you can hear them loud and clear becaue of the lack of fans in the stadium. They are trying to get the Tulane players to comply with the 1 up, 1 down chant that the ECU players and fans usually do with the "megaphone crew."
As for the game, Southern Miss loaded the bases in the top of the 1st, but Tulane's Brandon Gomes struck out James Ewing with 2 outs, keeping the game at 0-0 as Tulane comes up to bat in the 1st.
Southern Miss's best player and team leader, Trey Sutton, is not in the starting lineup again tonight. A Southern Miss spokesman said that Sutton subluxed his kneecap, and playing status for the rest of the tournament is still uncertain. You have to feel so bad for this kid, he hit a home run in his first at-bat of the tournament and has a 21-game hitting streak, but it looks like he might not be able to extend his hitting streak until next season.
I talked with the conference's premiere home run hitter, Memphis's Joey Lieberman after the game. Lieberman hit a shot in the first inning that exited the entire facility here at Clark-LeClair Stadium...
Only hundreds of fans are on hand for the Memphis-UCF game here at Greenville, NC's Clark-LeClair Stadium. I guess it's hard to keep attendance up with the host team and the No. 1 seed not playing. C-USA teams are also spread out halfway across the country and the visiting teams haven't brought too many fans with them. Tulane has had one of the stongest followings of the visiting teams, so we'll see if attendance picks up for what should be a good game in third-seeded Southern Miss and No. 7 Tulane.
As for the opening game, I have to admit, it's not the most entertaining game. Memphis is in complete control, up 11-5 in the 7th.
UCF, the last seed in the C-USA Tournament, has not given up after going down 9-0 in the first two innings to No. 5 Memphis. The Golden Knights scored three runs in the fourth to cut the deficit to 9-3 as we head into the bottom half.
The winner of this game will meet top-seeded Rice tomorrow at 9 a.m.
C-USA Tournament: Look both ways before crossing the street
Joey Lieberman of Memphis capped a 5-run Tiger 1st with a 2-run homer that went over the left field fence, over the second fence and bounced across Charles Blvd. and into the woods well behind Clark-LeClair Stadium...
Conference USA and ECU, similar to Fergie and Ludacris, have done everything first-class all week. All of the SID's have been very helpful, especially Malcolm Gray and his ECU Media Relations staff. The ECU Media Relations staff are the first ones to arrive every day, and the last ones to leave. They have had stats, quotes, and any information readily available at all times for all media. The food has also been great, and every aspect of the stadium has been run the right way.
So here's to 3 more days of great baseball, hospitality, and to C-USA and ECU for putting on such a "glamorous," first-class event!
Their will be four teams with 1 loss playing for their tournament lives today at the C-USA Tournament. No. 8 UCF and No. 5 Memphis will start things off at 3 p.m. No. 7 Tulane and No. 3 Southern Miss will follow.
After the ECU players took a victory lap around the stadium, high-fiving the thousands of fans along the outfield fence, Harrison Eldridge talked with the media, out of breath, with a smile on his face.
"Coach Godwin came up to me at third base and 'said second pitch squeeze, no sign'...He just threw the ball and I took off," said Eldridge.
I'm going to take a breath, then write a Day 1 recap...what a game!
Harrison Eldridge did it again, stealing home with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th to give ECU its second emotional win in as many nights, beating Southern Miss 2-1. This was a joy to watch, the stadium was full of emotion and it was such a great atmosphere for college baseball, it's a shame one team has to lose this one...
"For anybody that was here, what a great college baseball game," said ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin. "That's what college baseball is all about, win or lose."
As ECU was in the process of tying the game in the bottom of the ninth, Clark-LeClair Stadium was going crazy, the players on the basepaths were waving their arms and players in the home dugout waving towels in the air, attempting to heighten the ruckus.
Southern Miss's Barry Bowden pitched a great game, its a shame that he couldn't get credit for the win. Bowden was on 17-inning scoreless streak (he recorded a a complete game shutout in his final regular season start), but was taken out before the ninth, in favor or USM's closer Patrick Ezell. Bowden had thrown 117 pitches in 8 innings....very tough decision to make.
C-USA Tournament: Drama, extra innings for ECU-USM
WOW! ECU just got 1 run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings...
Jamie Ray drove in Broc Sutton for the tying run, and ECU had the bases loaded, two outs, full count, tie game and Drew Schieber took a pitch at the knees that was called stike 3 and set the ECU fans and ECU Head Coach Billy Godwin off. Godwin argued for a minute but returned to the dugout as he knows it is too costly to get thrown out with the game headed to extras....
This 9th inning scene was the most emotional inning of the tournament so far! Both closers are in the game as we go to the 10th.
With runners on the corners and 1 out, Harrison Eldridge hit a chopper to 1st base and ECU's Drew Schieber got caught in a rundown between 3rd and home, USM tagged him out as ECU's Dale Mollenhauer was running to third, so the Golden Eagles' then got Mollenhuer out in a rundown, getting both runners out and ending the Pirate rally.
One thing I learned playing baseball growing up: always, always force the runner back to his original base. The Southern Miss players must have payed attention in little league, because they executed to perfection...Golden Eagles up 1-0 as we head into the 9th inning.
Bailey Daniels relieved ECU's Dustin Sasser with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out in the 7th inning. Daniels got out of the jam unscathed, and then bolted to the bullpen instead of the dugout? He had to go get his coat from the bullpen and then ran back down to the dugout to stay warm inbetween innings.
The ECU batters might have forget something also...their bats! ECU only has three hits after 7 innings. Barry Bowden's changeup is keeping the Pirates off balance. Bowden has great command of his pitches, and that changeup is nasty!
It's still Southern Miss 1, ECU 0 as we head into the eighth.
C-USA Tournament: First pitch, first batter, first run
USM's Jody Blount took the first pitch of the sixth inning over the right-center fence for a monsterous solo home run. The Golden Eagles now have a 1-0 lead and Bowden pitching very well, but as we learned last night, ECU has the potential for a late comeback after struggling offensively for most of the game.
C-USA Tournament: Much needed salute to the grounds crew
The grounds crew here at Clark-LeClair Stadium, headed by Joey Perry, has done a great job with the playing surface. 8 games in two days is tough, and the crew has done a tremendous job. They even got some love in the top of the 5th, gaining some cheers from the crowd and recognition from the PA announcer while raking the infield and changing the bases. Good job guys!
As for the game, no score between ECU and Southern Miss, with ECU coming to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
With 2 outs in the top of the 3rd, Southern Miss batter Jody Blount hit a towering flyball in the infield and ECU pitcher Dustin Sasser halfway started to walk off the mound thinking someone would catch it and the inning would be over.
But first baseman Stephen Batts had his arms in the air and couldn't find the ball, and the second baseman was scattering near first to get the ball as it continued to soared. Sasser noticed, took charge and ran down the line to snag the ball with his glove. Pretty funny to watch, anyway no score between Southern Miss and ECU after three innings, both pitchers are performing very well. Golden Eagle pitcher Barry Bowden has yet to surrender a hit.
C-USA Tournament: Standing "O" for the little leadoff man
When ECU's Harrison Eldridge walked up to the plate to lead off the ECU 1st inning, the fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium gave Eldridge a louder ovation than usual. I have a feeling the gesture had something to do with the scrappy centerfielder's late-game heroics last night. I still can't get over the emotion that this stadium and Eldridge showed trotting around the bases last night, knowing he gave his team such a much-needed lift.
With the 7-5 victory over Memphis, Rice has set a new C-USA record for consecutive victories with 20. ECU held the record with 19 victories in 2004. Rice will have the day off tomorrow, and try to extend its winning streak to 21 Saturday at 9 a.m.
No. 2 ECU and No. 3 Southern Miss has just started. ECU is pitching lefty Dustin Sasser (5-4, 3.59 ERA) and USM is throwing Barry Bowden (7-3, 3.42 ERA)
The last time Rice's Matt Langwell pitched in ECU's Clark-LeClair Stadium, he surrendered 4 runs in 1 1/3 innings, in his worst outing of the year. The outing came in a regular season appearance against ECU earlier this year. Langwell returned to the stadium, and fared much better....
C-USA Tournament: Rice takes late lead, St. Clair getting ready
Danny Lehmann singled home Tyler Henley giving Rice a 6-5 lead, and Rice added another insurance run in the 8th, so the Owls now lead 7-5. Rice's stud closer Cole St. Clair just started warming up in the bullpen so it doesn't look good for Memphis, but the Tigers have battled all game long so we'll see what happens...
Memphis is coming up to bat, down 7-5 in the bottom of the 8th.
As the Rice-Memphis game started, a group of ECU football players started running drills on the practice field behind the right field fence. With the home run capability that these two teams have, they might want to watch out!
ala Kordell Stewart, Rice's first baseman/pitcher/desingated hitter/C-USA Player-of-the-Year/All-American Joe Savery just sent a McGregor pitch over the left field fence for a 2-run homer in the top of the first, giving Rice a 2-0 lead. Savery can simply do it all and will be making a lot of money in the major leagues pretty soon, the question is what position?
Rice is up 2-0 with Memphis coming to bat in the bottom of the 1st.
C-USA Tournament: Offense should arrive in about 30 mintues
No. 1 Rice and No. 5 Memphis will meet in a critical game about 30 mintues from now, and I'm really looking forward to this one. The two teams combined for 28 runs in 2 blowout wins yesterday, and I'm expecting more offense in this one.
The last two games of the day are very critical, as the winner of this game and the winner of the nightcap between ECU and Southern Miss have the day off tomorrow, while the losers will have to play tomorrow and then win two games on Saturday to reach the championship game. The losers of the next two games will have tough roads to the championship game on Sunday, so the rest of today is very critical and should produce two emotional games!
First pitch for Rice-Memphis is set for 4:35. Rice will throw Ryne Tacker(9-1, 2.41 ERA) and Memphis will counter with Scott McGregor(5-3, 6.43 ERA)
Tulane is up 12-4 in the ninth, and I don't see UAB putting up a 9-spot in the bottom half to win...but you never know. Anyway, I will have a recap with quotes, stats and thoughts after the conclusion.
C-USA Tournament: Sutton out for tonight's game, maybe longer
I saw Southern Miss's team leader and first baseman Trey Sutton during lunch and he was hobbling with a knee brace on and said he would not play tonight. You could tell he was in a good amount of pain and was dissapointed. He injured his knee during a swing attempt last night.
Third-seeded Southern Miss and second-seeded ECU will play tonight at 7:30 p.m.
UCF pitcher Jaager Good delivered the best pitching performance of the tournament this morning...
"My fastball had a lot more life on it today,' Good said after the game. "My curveball was probably the best that it's been all year. I was able to stay sharp and keep the ball down when I needed to."
UCF will play the loser of today's Rice/Memphis game tomorrow at 3 p.m.
"We are a pesky kind of team and I think we deserved this win today," said Good. "Whether it be Rice or Memphis that we face tomorrow, we will come out and give a full effort like knew we are capable of doing."
Good was right, the Golden Knights are a pesky team and I have been impressed with their determination as the eigth-seed this week.
Fourth-seeded Houston came into the C-USA Tournament needing a strong showing in the tournament to help build its resume for a NCAA Regional bid, but the Cougars did the opposite, losing its first two games and becoming the first team eliminated in the C-USA Tournament.
The Cougars got blown out by Memphis yesterday, 12-4, and only managed four hits againts UCF today.
Chicks aren't digging the long ball this morning at Clark-LeClair Stadium, it's all about station-to-station baseball!
Golden Knight leadoff man Matt Horwath led off with a bunt singe, moved to second on a SAC bunt, advanced to third on a Tyson Auer infield single, and scored on a Kiko Vazquez fielders choice...talk about small ball!
UCF's pitcher Jaager Good just struck out the side in the top of the first. The Golden Knights are now coming to bat.
I tried to count the actual fans in the stadium and counted around 50 (give or take a few), which is similar to yesterday's 9 a.m. game. I guess everyone is trying to recover after 16 hours of baseball yesterday.
Their had to be two coin flips last night to decide who would be the home team today. Since UAB and Tulane were both away teams yesterday, a flip won by UAB pits them as the home team between the two today. And between ECU and Southern Miss, ECU won the coin toss and will be in its familiar home dugout again today.
Well, after 16 hours of baseball, Day 1 of the C-USA Tournament is over.
I thought the contrast between Bracket one and Bracket two was very interesting. The teams in bracket one pounded out run after run, whilte the bracket two games featured better pitching.
The most exciting game to watch was the Tulane-ECU game. Clark-LeClair Stadium really lit up when Eldridge hit the game-winner over the right field fence. I feel bad for Shoother Hunt though, he pitched a heck of game and deserves credit. Eldridge said after that game the the home run pitch was a good pitch by Hunt, he just made solid contact with it.
I have to be at the stadium 8 hours from now, so im signing off until tomorrow...
Tulane's Shooter Hunt just struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth and has now struck out the last five ECU batters and has 7 K's on the game. ECU has managed only hit off the sophomore. Hunt is pitching a great game...
The pitchers continue to dominate the ECU-Tulane game. Hose and Hunt have only allowed four combined hits so far.
The ruckus crowd at the beginning of the game is starting to lose its voice i guess, but it's hard to get excited about a bunch of strikeouts and groundouts. This matchup has certainly lived up to its expected pitching duel so far.
After five innings, there is no score and once again, only four hits.
No I'm not playing NBA Jam on Sega Genisis, ECU first baseman Stephen Batts just extended his C-USA long hitting streak to 23 games with a single to right field in the third. He is now tied with Arizona Diamondback Chad Tracy for 2nd on ECU's all-time hitting streak charts. The record is 28 games, held by Steve Sides in 1987.
Three scoreless innings are in the books...Tulane is coming to bat in the fourth.
Hunt and Hose are really battling out there and putting on a great pitching duel.
Trey Sutton, one of Southern Miss's best players, twisted his knee in the eighth inning on a swing attempt and coach said after the game that Sutton is questionable for tomorrow's game against the winner of Tulane/ECU.
The ECU fans have packed Clark-LeClair Stadium and are creating a great home field advantage for the Pirates, and by the way the game is still about 30 minutes away. Tulane has been a thorn in ECU's side lately, but you couldn't tell right now as these fans should provide some extra momentum for the ECU players.
The last game of the day should start around 8:15 and even though Tulane is a lower seed than ECU, the Green Wave might have the psychological edge and a little mojo on their side. Tulane has won nine of the last 12 games between the two, and has beaten ECU in the C-USA Tournament the past two years. ECU and Tulane squared off in the first round of last year's tournament and ECU won 4-2, but two days later Tulane got revenge by eliminating the Pirates from the tournament. We'll see in a little bit how this year's tournament version of Tulane v. ECU will play out...
As the UAB-Southern Miss game is chugging along(UAB is still winning 5-1) their seems to be a good amount of purple and gold filling the berm behind the left field fence known as "The Jungle." The Jungle should be rocking in a couple of hours and provide a great 10th man for ECU, maybe not so much for the Tulane leftfielder though.
I talked to ECU starting pitcher T.J. Hose on Monday, and he said he knows the fans in jungle are behind him and are his 10th man. Hose displays a lot of emotion on the mound and seems to pitch well when his 10th man is really behind him, so wel'll see how things go tonight for the ECU ace.
Southern Miss's Trey Sutton stepped into the batters box in the bottom of the first, stopped, turned around and switched bats with the player on deck. Sutton then proceeded to take the first pitch over the rightfield fence for a solo home run...must have been the bat!
After one inning, UAB and Southern Miss are tied at one.
Rice's Ryan Berry has been taken out after Matt Horwath's 2-run single made the score 11-6 in the sixth inning. Berry, who was named C-USA Freshman-of-the-Year on Monday, gave up six runs in five innings pitched.
Score is 11-6 with Rice coming to bat in sixth with the lead.
C-USA Tournament: seesaw battle between Rice and UCF
This game has gone back and forth since the start. Rice scored five runs in the fourth, making the score 7-3 in favor of the top-seeded Owls. Rice scored all five of its runs with two outs in the inning.
There is also a much quicker pace to this game than the first one, which all media loves on a day like today!
UCF responded in the top of the fourth, taking the lead at 3-2.
Kiko Vazquez got things rolling with a RBI double after Tyson Auer leadoff with a single. Ryan Richardson plated Vazquez on a single to left field, tying the game at 2. Chadd Hartman gave the Golden Knights the lead later in the inning with a sacrifice fly.
UCF is competing like crazy against heavily-favored Rice, I think some karma rubbed off on UCF when Journey's "Dont stop believing" played after Rice took a 2-0 lead...don't mess with the karma!
UCF 3, Rice 2 heading into the bottom of the fourth
So after Josh Brown started the UCF third with a double, he was thrown out at third on a SAC bunt attempt by the next batter. UCF still managed to get a runner to third in the inning, but Dwayne Bailey ended the inning with a strikeout.
In the bottom half, RIce took the lead when Aaron Luna drove in his 48th run of the year with a single, scoring Tyler Henley. The C-USA Player-of-the-Year Joe Savery followed suit with a RBI single of his own.
Rice is up 2-0 as we head into the fourth...and ironically enough, Journey's "Don't stop believing" was played in-between innings.
Rice and UCF just started the second game of the day at 12:46 p.m. (only 16 minutes behind schedule, ill take it) and evidently some fans decided to show up to this one.
Rice and UCF have both brought a good amount of fans and there is suddenly a little energy in Clark-LeClair Stadium. The attendance should continue to increase as the day progresses, the nightcap between Tulane and ECU(host team) should produce the biggest crowd of the day and should be a great atmosphere for postseason baseball!
UCF went down in order in the top of the first, Rice is coming to bat...
Lunch was good, and top-seeded Rice is about to tangle with eighth-seeded UCF. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m.
Rice has never lost a C-USA Tournament game, never lost a C-USA series, is ranked 2nd in the nation and on a 18-game winning streak. UCF, on the other hand, barely snuck into the tournament as the eighth and final seed....but that is why they play the game folks!
Rice will pitch the C-USA Freshman-of-the-Year in Ryan Berry (9-2, 2.45 ERA)
UCF will counter with left-hander Mitch Herold (0-2, 9.39 ERA)
Fifth-seeded Memphis defeated fourth-seeded Houston 12-3 in Game 1 of the C-USA Tournament.
Tiger freshman Brennon Martin pitched his first career complete game, allowing four runs on nine hits. The crafty left-hander came into the game with a 3-1 record and 4.91 ERA in five regular season starts.
Memphis centerfielder K.K. Chalmers just made one of the best defensive plays I've ever seen. Chalmerrs robbed Houston leadoff man Ryan Lormand when he climbed the wall in left-center, almost falling over the fence into what is knows as "The Jungle" at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The score is 11-3, Memphis in the lead, as we enter the ninth inning.
C-USA Tournament: Somebody ate their Wheaties this morning
I hate to be redundant, but Memphis is crushing the ball today. In the sixth, Michael Murray led off the inning with a solo home run, and two batters later Adam Amar hit his second homer of the day with a shot that went about 391 ft. to the 390 part of centerfield.
The fifth-seeded Tigers now have 15 hits, four home runs and a 10-2 lead over fourth-seeded Houston in the sixth.
Memphis has extended its lead to 7-2, with Houston coming to bat in the fifth. The Tigers added one run in the fourth and another in the fifth.
Memphis has scored in every inning of the game so far, except for the second. The Tigers know how to score runs and if they get solid pitching the rest of the tournament, they could be a scary team because of their ability to hit the ball.
Houston senior Josh Stirneman just extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff single in the bottom of the second. Houston couldn't manage much after that though, stranding him at first base.
Memphis wasted no time showing off its offensive ability as senior Adam Amar beamed the right field foul pole for a 2-run home run with two outs. The Tigers posted two runs and three hits in the top of the 1st.
I have a feeling Memphis isn't done scoring in this game, they can really hit the ball. Houston will now take its turn against Memphis pitcher Brennon Martin (3-1, 4.91 ERA).
I just arrived at Clark-LeClair Stadium (yes it is 8:30 in the morning) and I'm ready for Day 1 of the C-USA Tournament. I've talked to many coaches and players this week and all of them have stressed the importance of winning in the first round...
The Conference USA Tournament starts tomorrow in Greenville, NC at ECU's Clark-LeClair Stadium and there are a lot of intriguing matchups on Day 1...
Houston and Memphis, seeded fourth and fifth respectively, will start the action at 9 a.m. This could be a make-or-break game for both teams, as they are both fighting for a NCAA regional bid and both finished the regular season with 12-12 records in C-USA. Houston won the regular season series between the two, taking two of three at Memphis in a wild series. The teams combined for 59 runs in three games. Memphis has one of the strongest offenses in the conference. Memphis shortstop Michael Murray leads C-USA with a .391 batting average, and Bill Moss and Joey Lieberman are tied for the conference lead with 12 home runs. Houston's redshirt freshman Wes Musick will try to tame the Tigers' offense. Musick has a 6-4 record and a 3.18 ERA in 14 starts this season.