Grand finish for Tigers; Memphis outlasts Tech 13-9 in 10 innings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech overcame a grand slam by Memphis in the sixth inning and battled back to tie the game in the top of the ninth, only to see the Tigers get a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning to post a 13-9 victory Sunday evening in Fed Ex Park.

The win allowed Memphis  to sweep the three-game non-conference series and improve to 9-11. Tech, which came into the series having won five of its last six games, slipped to 9-11 heading into a Tuesday  afternoon game at Belmont.

The Golden Eagles had 17 hits in the contest, but stranded 15 runners and hurt their chances with four errors, including two miscues on the 10th.

Tyler Huesling struck for two home runs including his second grand slam of the year to give the home team an 8-4 lead in the sixth.

Tech cut the difference to 8-6 in the seventh, slipped behind 9-6 in the eighth on Huesling’s solo blast, then scored three times in the top of the ninth on A.J. Kirby-Jones’ 11th home run of the season – and second of the series -- to knot the contest at 9-9.

Chason Choate (1-2), the fifth Tech pitcher in the contest, took the tough-luck loss. He was nearly flawless in the ninth, getting  through the frame with only one base runner who reached on a Golden Eagle throwing error.

Errors were costly in the 10th as leadoff hitter Jeff Zurcher reached on a fielding error. He stole second base and moved all the way to third on a throwing error on the play. Coach Matt Bragga decided to intentionally walk the next two batters to set up force outs around the horn, but Russell hit his first home run of the year on the first pitch, a line drive down the left field line.

Starter Tristan Archer worked the first five innings, scattering six hits and allowing three runs. He walked three and struck out three. Will Thomas  got into trouble in the sixth, allowing four runs on three hits and a walk. With one out, Chad Oberacker  took over with the bases loaded and Huesling drove his second pitch over the right center fence for the grand slam and an 8-4 lead.

Stephen Pryor had two strong inning of relief, holding Memphis to one run on two hits with three strikeouts in the seventh and eighth.

Oberacker and freshman Zephan Guyear had three hits apiece , while Tate McMillan, Chad Hayes and Kirby-Jones collected two hits each.

Tech’s run in the first came on the second pitch on Oberacker’s home run, and in the second McMillan’s RBI single made it a 2-0 Tech lead.  McMillan added another RBI single in the fourth to make it 3-0 before Memphis scored twice in the fourth  and once in the fifth to tie the game.

The Golden Eagles  regained the lead in the sixth when Kirby-Jones walked with the bases loaded to make it 4-3, before the Tigers’ five-run inning.