TAMPA — Sophomore right- hander Colton Hathcock turned in a quality start for the University of Memphis, allowing just two earned runs over six innings and the visiting Tigers beat the University of South Florida 8-3 at USF Baseball Stadium in American Athletic Conference play. The two teams will hook up again tomorrow at 6:30 PM for game two of the three game set.
Hancock struck out 8 and walked four, allowing just three hits on 93 pitches.
“He had a long outing last week, a complete game on a Friday night win for us. Tonight he got a little fatigued. Can’t complain, in conference play, on the road against good scrappy team. They have a lot of young guys, but I like their team. They are going to be good.” said Memphis Head Coach Daron Schoenrock.
After two quick outs the second, USF starter Phoenix Sanders hit Trent Turner with a pitch and Colton Neel followed with a two run home run for a 2-0 Tigers lead. Another two-out rally in the fourth put runners on first and third for Neel who walked. Jacob Elliott scored from this on a passed ball giving Memphis a 3-0 lead. Sanders struck out Damo DeMatteo to end any further damage.
A sacrifice fly to left by Joe Genord scored Coco Montes for the Bulls first run in the home half of the inning. Tyler Dietrich followed with a single to score Duke Stunkel Jr. and the lead was cut t0 3-2.
After trading zeroes in the fifth Tigers right-fielders Jake Little led off the sixth with a solo home run for a 4-2 Memphis lead. Zack Schrittenthal and Darien Tubbs then delivered run scoring singles and Memphis went up 6-2. Brandon Grudzielanek singled to center field to plate two more runs for Memphis, 8-2.
Montes lined an RBI single to right in the seventh and the Bulls trailed 8-3, and thats as close as they would get.
Sanders finished his night for USF completing six innings, giving up eight runs on 12 hits, seven earned. He struck out four, walked two on 108 pitches.
“Phoenix left everything up today, he’s been really good for us all year. It was a very un-Phoenix like outing, everything he threw was up in the zone. When we give up eight runs on Friday night, we probably wont win. Our formula has to be pitching and defense and try to score enough to win.” said USF Head Coach Mark Kingston. Giving up eight run on Friday is going to be a tough formula for us.”
USF started seven freshman and two sophomores in tonights game. One of those, Freshman Shortstop Coco Montes entered the game hitting .371 over his last 10 games, and added two more hits tonight and leads the team in multi-hit games with nine. It is not going unnoticed by Coach Kingston.
“We need everybody to improve at the same rate he is.” said Kingston after the game.
Phoenix Sanders entered the game having allowed 10 earned runs on the season. Memphis got to him for seven tonight to give you some perspective on what kind of night it was for him.
Freshman Pitcher Dylan Burns was solid out of the bullpen for USF and threw 3.0 scoreless innings in relief.
Memphis has done most of its offensive damage in the fifth inning this year scoring 33 runs. After scoring five more tonight in the fifth, make that 38.