March 26, 2012
|Memphis (10-13) at Middle Tennessee (14-10)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Coming off its first win over a top-10 team since the 2009 season, Memphis (10-13) travels to Middle Tennessee (14-10) for a two-game midweek series a Reese Smith Jr. Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Live stats are available at GoTigersGo.com. Jeff Brightwell will have the play-by-play action on WUMR 91.7 FM in Memphis and you can listen on Memphis TigerVision. Live streaming is also available at GoBlueRaiders.com and you can follow the game via a live blog at GoTigersGo.com.
The Tigers carry a 395-270 record in games played in March since the 1977 season. Memphis has had one season above the .500 mark under head coach Daron Schoenrock, an 11-10 record for the NCAA Regional team in 2007. Under Schoenrock the Tigers are 63-81 in March.
Behind The Eight Ball
A 12.05 ERA haunts the Tigers in the eighth inning as the club has allowed 31 runs, 29 earned, on 43 hits. Ole Miss scored five runs in the eighth to take a 7-2 win over the Tigers on Feb. 28. Mississippi State scored four runs in the eighth to tie the game 6-6, but the Tigers escaped with a 7-6 win on Feb. 29. Siena scored three times in the eighth on March 16 in a 6-3 victory over Memphis. Rice scored nine runs in the eighth on March 24 to win 15-4, but the Tigers scored four on March 25 to grab a 6-2 win over the seventh-ranked Owls.
Quality Starting Pitching
Memphis has 16 quality starts from its pitching staff in 23 games, but the Tigers are 7-9 in those games. Dan Langfield has provided a quality start in five of his six starts, but carries a 4-2 record. Midweek starter Michael Wills has three quality starts, but has two no decisions to his credit.
The Series With Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee leads the series with the Tigers 41-40 and the two clubs split the two meetings last year at FedExPark. Overall, Middle Tennessee has won four of the last six meetings. The Tigers have lost their last 10 games at Middle Tennessee with the last victory coming on April 8, 2003. At Middle Tennessee, Memphis carries a 14-22 mark, but five of the last 10 Middle Tennessee wins were by 10-plus runs.
The Inside Edge - Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders carry a 14-10 record into the midweek series against the Tigers. Middle Tennessee lost two-out-of-three against Florida Atlantic last weekend. Ethan Williams leads the club with a .322 average and the squads hits at a .255 clip. Trent Miller has six of the Blue Raiders 21 home runs. Johnny Thomas leads the team with 18 RBI and three other players have 10-plus RBI on the year. On the mound, Middle Tennessee has 161 strikeouts to 102 walks in 215.0 innings and carries a 3.35 ERA.
Move Them Over
Memphis and Rice are tied for the C-USA lead with 19 sacrifice bunts on the season and Ethan Gross is third individually with four sacrifice bunts. At this point last season, Memphis had 11 sacrifice bunts.
The Tigers have recorded a league-best 55 doubles already this season and are on pace to approach the single season record of 137 set in 2007. Eli Hynes leads the team with nine doubles on the year and Zach Willis has added eight. Memphis has recorded two or more doubles in 18 of 23 games, including the first 10 in a row.
Good Start, But What About Finish?
Last season, the Tigers pounced on opponents early, outscoring its opponents 156-81 in the first three innings. In the sixth through the final out, Memphis was outscored 156-115. So far in 2012, Memphis is outscoring opponents 44-32 in the first three, but opponents have outscored the Tigers 59-44 after the fifth.
Jacob Wilson hit a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning to give Memphis a 3-2 win over Austin Peay on March 13. The win was Memphis' 15th when scoring three or fewer runs and first since March 26, 2011. Since 2006, Memphis is 16-100 in games where they score three runs or less. Last season, the Tigers were 1-15 with three or fewer runs scored. This season, Memphis is 1-7 when scoring three or fewer runs.
Jacob Wilson and Adam McClain are in pursuit of top-10 positions in the record books for career numbers. McClain is eighth with 213 career hits and Wilson is 10th with 210 career hits. Wilson has 52 career doubles which is fourth all-time. The two seniors are also climbing the charts in games played as Wilson (189) and McClain (186) could each eclipse the top-five with 35 games played this season. With 30-plus RBI this season, Wilson could inch closer to the top-five in the category with 146 on his career.
Going The Distance
Chase Joiner pitched a complete game shutout, the first for a Tiger pitcher since April 9, 2004, as the Tigers defeated Siena 6-0 on March 17. The next game, Michael Wills threw 136 pitches in a complete game 7-1 victory over Arkansas State. Wills did not allow an earned run and surrendered four hits. Dan Langfield pitched a complete game at Baylor, but was on the losing side as the Bears took a 2-1 victory in the eighth inning of a scheduled seven-inning game.
Walk This Way?
Memphis hadn't walked 12 batters in game in nearly four years, but the Tiger staff issued 12 walks against Rice on March 24. The 12 walks marked the first time Memphis had done so since April 12, 2008 at UCF. On the flip side, Memphis issued no walks in the March 25 win over No. 7 Rice, the first time that Tiger pitching hadn't walked a batter since March 19, 2011.
The Tigers have pounced on opponents early as the U of M has outscored the opposition 18-5 in the first inning this season. Memphis has scored in the first inning 11 out of 23 games and carries a 6-5 record in those games.
The Tigers played several nail bitters last season and in games decided by two runs or less, Memphis finished 9-14, 7-6 in league play. The Tigers had five come-from-behind wins and nine one run losses. The Tigers are 2-5, 0-1 in league play, in games decided by two runs or less this season.
Head Coach Daron Schoenrock has penned a lineup 23 times this season and each game has seen five or more underclassmen making starts. Memphis has had six underclassmen in the lineup in four games and five underclassmen in 19 games.
Memphis is hitting .249 (60-241) with two outs this season compared to .315 (81-257) at this point last season. The Tigers had 60 two out RBI and 141 runs scored through 23 games last year, but the U of M has mustered 34 two-out RBI so far this year with 122 runs scored.
Since the 2005 season, the Tigers are 57-92 in road games. The last time Memphis had a winning record on the road came back in the 2006 season when the Tigers were 13-11.
Memphis vs. Ranked Opponents
A five-run eighth inning by No. 16 Ole Miss was the difference in the Tigers first game against a ranked foe this season. The Tigers dropped a doubleheader to No. 21 Baylor on March 11 to fall to 0-3 on the season against ranked foes. Memphis is 81-231 against ranked foes all-time and the last win versus a ranked team came on March 25 against No. 7 Rice, the first win over a top-10 team since March 27, 2009.
Coming into the 2012 season, pitching coach Fred Corral wanted his pitchers to throw more strikes and cut down on walks. The Tigers have walked 78 batters this season compared to 89 at the same point last season. Looking closer, starting pitchers have struck out 16 more batters and issued nine fewer walks compared to last season.
Hynes Breakout Season
Eli Hynes hit .246 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in his first season at the U of M. In 23 games this year, Hynes has hit .341 with six home runs and 23 RBI. Currently, Hynes is on pace (calculated for 56 game schedule) for 15 home runs, 56 RBI.
Memphis is 91-138 under head coach Daron Schoenrock following a loss. After a 9-32 record in the 2005 season following a loss, the Tigers are 82-106 since. In the last three seasons, the U of M is 37-31 following a loss. This season, the Tigers are 7-6 following a loss.
Mixing It Up
Head Coach Daron Schoenrock has penned 18 different lineup combinations in 23 games this season. Eleven different players have 11 or more starts on the season.
Youth Is Served
Memphis freshmen have started a combined 45 games in the field this season with Keaton Aldridge leading the group with 12 starts behind the plate. Carter White (11), Colton Simbeck (11), Tucker Tubbs (7), Bryce Beeler (3) and Nate Rupiper (1) round out the freshmen who have started this season.
The Tigers return to FedExPark for a three-game conference series with Tulane. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.