Baseball to Begin Seven-Game Homestand with Midweek Series versus Illinois State
March 12, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After a week on the road, Head Coach Daron Schoenrock and his Memphis Tigers return home for the next seven games. Memphis will kick off the season-long, seven-game homestand on Tues., Mar. 13 when it hosts Illinois State in the first of a two-game midweek series. Both contests are set for a 4 p.m. first pitch.
Memphis comes into the midweek with an 8-5 mark after going 1-4 in a tough week on the road. The Tigers dropped a pair of one-run decisions at Samford and then lost a weekend series at No. 6 Clemson, two games to one. Despite the rough week of competition, there was a bright spot--a 6-4, 10-inning win over Clemson in the series opener. That win was the Tigers' first over a top-10 opponent since 2003, when Ryan Martin's 10th inning walk-off blast lifted Memphis to an 8-7 win over No. 9 Mississippi State. Schoenrock was involved in both of the Tigers last wins over top-10 opponents as he was an assistant coach at Mississippi State in 2003.
Pitching and defense have been the strong point for the Tiger so far this season. The Memphis staff has a 2.84 ERA and is holding opponents to just .224 hitting, while the defense is fielding at a 97 percent clip. The Tigers have committed just 13 errors in 13 games. On the mound, sophomore Matt Yokley leads the way with a 3-0 record and a 0.60 ERA. In five outings, the Collierville High product has logged 15 innings of work and has struck out a staff-best 18 hitters. Junior Neil Schenk has had success in the early season, holding opposing hitters to just .083 hitting. Schenk has nine strikeouts in just two long-relief appearances.
Offensively, the Tigers have struggled, hitting just .233 as a team. Bill Moss and Joey Lieberman hit .392 and .349, respectively. The senior duo is the lone Tigers hitting over .300. Moss leads the team in hits (20), doubles (5) and home runs (3). Lieberman has a team-high nine RBI and two triples. Memphis has been successful on the base paths, swiping 14 bases in 16 attempts. K.K. Chalmers has seven stolen bases this year and 63 for his career. He is now just four bases shy of holding the program's all-time stolen base mark. Senior Will Petersen swung the bat well at Clemson. Petersen went 6-for-13 (.462) on the weekend, with three runs scores, three stolen bases and a pair of RBI. Petersen swiped bases in all three games of the weekend series.
Illinois State (6-6) comes into the series riding the momentum of a three-game sweep of Southeast Missouri State over the weekend. The Redbirds have won four straight and have road wins over Louisville and Arkansas this year. As a team ISU hits .285. They have pounded out 21 doubles and are aggressive on the bases with 19 stolen bags. Five Redbirds are batting over .300, led by junior Ryan Anetsberger's team-high .396 average. He also paces the offense with 10 hit and five stolen bases. Kyle O'Brien has a .341 batting average to go with four doubles. Jesse Griswold is the main run-producer with 13 RBI and eight runs scored.
On the hill ISU has a 5.85 ERA. Opponents are hitting .287 against them and are averaging 6.6 runs per game. Tuesday's starter Mike Hlavacek has a 6.75 ERA in five appearances. The senior has been roughed up in four innings of work. Opposing hitters have a .450 average against him. O'Brien leads the staff with two saves. He is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
Memphis is 19-4 all-time against Illinois State. The series dates back to the 1972 season when the Redbirds defeated the Tigers 6-2. The Tigers have won 18 of the last 20 meetings. The last time the two schools met on the diamond was in 1993 when Memphis won a three-game series two games to one.
The Tigers will also host Akron and Middle Tennessee in the seven-game home swing.