EL PASO, Texas - The Memphis pitching staff guided the Redbirds to their seventh straight win as the Redbirds defeated El Paso 2-1 in the series opener at Southwest University Park on Saturday night.
Scoring was at a premium in the first of a four-game set, as runs were hard to come by in the opener. Memphis took advantage of their late opportunities though and scored a pair of late runs to move their win streak to seven straight games. The Redbirds remained tied atop the division standings with cross-state rival Nashville, who won 8-3 at Albuquerque.
The game was scoreless until the visitors struck first in the eighth. Xavier Scruggs found his way to second base on an error and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Pete Kozma stepped to the plate and got the first baseman home with a sacrifice fly for the game's first run and a Redbirds lead.
El Paso quickly answered, plating a run off of reliever Jorge Rondon via a Jeff Francoeur sacrifice fly. The game was knotted at 1-1.
The 'Birds fought hard in the ninth though and after Tommy Pham led off with a double, Scott Moore drove him home with the contest's third sacrifice fly. Rondon tossed a scorless ninth and secured another Redbirds' victory.
Jason Lane threw a gem for El Paso, going eight innings without surrendering a walk. He gave up one unearned run on six hits, taking a no-decision in the game. The loss was handed to Jerry Sullivan who allowed Pham to score in the final frame.
Boone Whiting tossed 73 pitches for the Redbirds, walking two and fanning four in the start. After Heath Wyatt and Eric Fornataro notched scoreless outings, Rondon earned his fourth win by throwing the final two innings. The staff combined to surrender only six hits in total, striking out ten without giving up an extra-base hit.
The series will continue tomorrow with a 7:05 pm first pitch at Southwest University Park. Left-hander Tim Cooney will go up against Donn Roach in the Sunday night contest.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.