MONROE, La. - Hot offense and steady play in the field led the ULM baseball team to an 11-7 win and two-game series sweep of Memphis Wednesday night at Warhawk Field.
With the victory, the Warhawks improved to 4-0 against Conference USA in 2012. ULM is also unbeaten in its four home weekday contests this season.
Memphis (5-8) took a quick 2-0 lead off ULM starter Alex Hermeling in the top half of the opening inning. Leadoff hitter Adam McClain drew a four-pitch walk, then came all the way around to score on a double down the left field line by Carter White for the first Tiger run of the game. Eli Hynes sent a 3-2 offering back up the middle to plate White with nobody out. Hermeling responded by forcing Jacob Wilson to fly out and T.J. Rich to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The Warhawks (9-5) responded with a five-run surge in the bottom of the third frame to chase starting pitcher Erik Schoenrock (0-1). Caleb Clowers rapped a two-run single through the left side, scoring Logan Fiasco and Brandon Alexander to tie the game at 2-2. Joey Rapp followed with a sharp single down the right field line to bring around Clowers and Les Aulds and take a 4-2 lead. ULM added a run on a Corben Green sacrifice fly to push the advantage to 5-2.
Cale Wine (2-1) entered in the top half of the fourth inning in relief of Hermeling, and promptly struck out Ford Wilson looking. Colton Simbeck scored from third base on a passed ball by the catcher Fiasco two batters later to draw within two runs at 5-3. Wine forced McClain to ground out to second to cap the threat.
The Warhawks kept the pressure on in the bottom of the fifth, as a fielding error on Memphis second baseman Zach Willis moved Rapp to third base and Green to second with no outs. Alexander ripped a two-run single off pitcher Clayton Gant to bring both runners home and up the Warhawk lead to 7-3. An infield base hit from Jeremy Sy extended the cushion to 8-3.
Sy and Fiasco each paced ULM with two base hits apiece, while Rapp and Alexander each added two RBIs. Aulds stole a career-high three bases.
Wine motored through the Memphis lineup 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth inning, as a soft liner to Sy at shortstop off the bat of Ford Wilson sat the visitors down in order.
Hynes sparked the Tigers in the top half of the seventh on a hard hit double to center field off Logan Dopson, scoring White from second to bring the score within four runs (8-4). A shallow flyout to Aulds in left field by Jacob Wilson halted the Memphis momentum.
Kendall Thamm entered with the bases full of Tigers in the top of the eighth inning and made short work of Willis on a three-pitch strikeout for out number two. McClain fought off a series pitches against the ULM southpaw and drew the count to 2-2, but Thamm forced him to swing through a fastball to escape the jam and preserve a five-run lead (9-4).
Trent Lucas drove in his first career run on a sacrifice fly to deep left field, scoring Rapp and extending the ULM advantage to 10-4. A sharp shot up the middle by Fiasco drove Edwards home from third base and upped the Warhawk lead to 11-4.
Memphis added three runs in the top half of the ninth inning on a pair of home runs off reliever Devin Malone. Wil Browning emerged from the bullpen and struck out Simbeck on a nasty breaking ball for the frame's second out. Browning retired Ethan Gross swinging to end the ballgame.
Hynes led all hitters with a 4-for-5 night at the plate, driving in four runs. White added two hits and three runs scored. Schoenrock allowed five earned runs in his 2.2 innings to take his first loss of the season.
The Warhawks travel to Tennessee for a three-game set this weekend. First pitch on Friday is set for 5 p.m. The game can be heard live on Talk 540 AM and ulmwarhawks.com.