Memphis falls in American Baseball Tournament opener
CLEARWATER, Fla-Memphis held a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning before Houston scored four runs to come out with a 6-5 win in the opening game of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at Spectrum Field. The Tigers (29-28) will now play in an elimination game against No. 6 seed Cincinnati Tuesday at 8 a.m. (CT).
Senior Chris Carrier blasted a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the fifth inning. The low line-drive homer was Carrier’s 15th of the year and extended his hitting streak to 19 games. He finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
The Tigers extended the lead to 5-2 in the top of the eighth. Carrier and Turner both singled to get the inning started. With one out, Zach Schritenthal lined a single into center field to drive in one run and an error in the outfield allowed the second run to score.
Everything fell apart in the eighth though as Houston came right back to retake the lead with four runs, with a three-run homer providing the go-ahead run. Connor Alexander was charged with the loss.
Memphis starting pitcher Jonathan Bowlan grinded through some early trouble and was able to limit damage throughout the early innings. He settled in and threw six solid innings for his fifth consecutive quality start. Bowlan allowed just two runs on seven hits and struck out six batters.
Drew Crosby threw a perfect seventh inning of relief with one strikeout. Blake Bennett recorded the final 2/3 of an inning with two strikeouts.
Memphis and Houston traded solo home runs in the first inning, with Brandon Grudzielanek going opposite field in the top half.
Houston took its first lead of the day in the second inning after a two-out RBI double.