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Memphis Baseball Loses 6-5 in Extras in Season Opener

Memphis infielder Alex Fernandes talks to his hitting coach, as the Tigers fall in extra innings to Jacksonville State 6-5.
Memphis infielder Alex Fernandes talks to his hitting coach, as the Tigers fall in extra innings to Jacksonville State 6-5.

In a marathon of a season opener, the Tigers opening-day dreams were dashed in the 13th inning off a Brennen Norton tape measure shot to left field for a final score of 6-5 Jacksonville State.  

The Memphis starter on Opening Day was senior David Warren who had a stellar performance of five innings pitched with five strikeouts and just two extra-base hits with only one run allowed. He was in complete control on the mound in his first start of the season with only two runners in scoring position the entire outing and the one run being on an RBI grounder. 

The Tiger bats showed flashes of improvement early in the budding season with long at bats and a couple of clutch hits in big moments. Down 1-0 in the top of the 2nd inning, catcher Brennan Dubose laced a two-out double through the hole at second into right field to bring Seth Cox and Daunte Stuart home, giving Memphis an early 2-1 lead.  

Later, in the 6th inning, Seth Cox hit a three-run homer to left field to extend the lead to 5-1 in the middle innings. It was his second hit of the night, and he was the only Tiger to get multiple hits in the game. 

However, once Warren was taken out of the game signs of trouble started to show for Memphis. The Tigers gave up three runs in the bottom of the 6th inning off two hits, a walk and a wild pitch to bring the game to 5-4. An RBI double by Gamecocks catcher Bear Madlik in the 8th inning tied the game at five a piece. Pierre Seals would hit a leadoff single to start the 9th inning, but he’d get stranded at second, and a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th sent the game into extra innings. 

The Memphis bats were nonexistent in extras, recording zero hits and only reaching base on a fielding error. The Tigers struck out ten times in thirteen combined plate appearances, including eight strikeouts in a row. This put the pitching staff into a bind and despite three innings of shutout pitching from Jake Curtis, he gave up a walk-off home run to Norton in his fourth inning of work to end the night.  

Curtis put up a valiant effort in relief but the lack of run support late in the game did the Tigers in. The Tigers left eight runners in scoring position and recorded nineteen strikeouts on the night. There were many chances that Memphis will want back, but the Tigers will have to wait another day for win number one in the Riser era. 

Memphis will play at Jacksonville State again Saturday at 2 PM CST and Sunday at 1 PM CST to wrap up the Opening Weekend series. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN+. Luke Ellis will get the start Saturday and Caden Robinson will start the finale on Sunday.  

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