Pirates a win away from title game
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE - If the East Carolina Pirates can beat the Tulane Green Wave for the second time in four days, they will advance to Sunday’s Conference USA Tournament championship game.
They’ll get two cracks at it, if needed.
The No. 2 seed Pirates (38-20), which took a 4-2 win over No. 7 seed Tulane (34-24) on Wednesday, will meet the Green Wave at 12:30 p.m. today at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Tulane, which kept its tournament hopes alive by beating Southern Miss in an elimination game Friday, needs to beat ECU twice today to advance to the championship game.
Sophomore Josh Dowdy will get the start for the Pirates.
If Tulane happens to win, the teams will play again at 7:30 p.m.
Rice, the top seed and the defending C-USA Tournament champions, will advance to the title game for the second straight year with a win over Memphis today. The teams meet at 9 a.m.
Memphis needs to beat Rice twice today to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
The No. 5 seed Tigers ousted No. 8 seed UCF on Friday.
Tulane 6, Southern Miss 2
Tulane kept its C-USA Tournament championship hopes alive, while eliminating Southern Miss in the process, with a 6-2 win Friday evening.
Brandon Gomes (7-6) got the win for Tulane on Friday, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings. He struck out 10 and walked three.
Preston Clairborne pitched the final two innings for Tulane, giving up a run on a pair of hits.
David Clark (8-5), who allowed five earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, suffered the loss.
Southern Miss (38-21) had a chance to do some early damage, but couldn’t score after loading the bases in the first inning.
Anthony Scelfo gave Tulane a 1-0 lead in the bottom half with a solo home run.
Tulane added a run in the fifth on Aja Barto’s home run.
Michael Ewing made it 2-1 in the top of the sixth with a solo blast.
The Green Wave tacked on three more runs in the sixth to take a 5-1 lead. Jared Dyer’s two-run homer was the big blow.
That was more than enough for Gomes and the Green Wave, who got two hits apiece from Dyer and Cat Everett.
Memphis 12, UCF 6
Fifth-seeded Memphis scored 12 runs on 13 hits en route to eliminating No. 8 UCF, 12-6, in game nine of the 2007 C-USA Baseball Championship at Clark-LeClair Stadium on the campus of East Carolina University. The Tigers scored five runs in the first and added four in the second for an early 9-0 lead and the team extended its lead late in the game to advance to play No. 1 Rice on Saturday.
In the first, K.K. Chalmers led off the inning with a double and then the Tigers (35-24) put runners at first and third with no out when shortstop Eric Kallstrom mishandled a grounder. After a Bill Moss walk loaded the bases, Adam Amar singled to score Chalmers for a 1-0 lead.
Kyle Norrid was up next and grounded into a double play, but Josh Irvin kept the inning alive with a two-out, two-run double to right center, scoring Amar and Moss. Joey Lieberman extended the Tiger lead to 5-0 with a two-run home run, his league-leading 13th of the season.
Memphis took advantage of three Knight errors and rapped out three more hits to score four runs in the bottom of the second. The innings was highlighted by doubles by Moss and Irvin.
UCF (27-32) cut into the Tiger lead with three runs of its own in the fourth. Kiko Vazquez led off the inning with a single through the left side and then advanced to second on another throwing error by Michael Murray. Ryan Richardson was safe at first on the play. Both runners then advanced a base on a pass ball by Memphis starter Ben Grisham.
Kallstrom was up next and singled up the middle to score both Richardson and Vazquez. Dwayne Bailey then tripled down the right field line to score Kallstrom and make the score 9-3.
Memphis added two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh to keep their cushion and advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Today’s win marked the first time that Memphis has reached back-to-back championship semifinals.
Grisham pitched a complete game for the Tigers, scattering 11 hits and striking out five Knights. The win was his fourth on the season.
UCF starter Kyle Sweat was saddled with the loss, only lasting one inning, while giving up five runs on four hits with two walks. Austin Hudson pitched the majority of the game for the Knights, lasting five innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and tallied two strikeouts.
Memphis and Rice will battle at 9 a.m. today. If the Tigers down the Owls, an elimination game will be needed at 4 p.m. If the Owls are victorious, they will advance to their second straight C-USA Championship game on Sunday.