MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis (14-11, 1-2 C-USA) plays host to No. 19 Houston (21-5, 3-0 C-USA) this weekend at FedExPark. LHP Sam Moll (4-1, 2.78 ERA) toes the rubber at 6:30 p.m. on Friday to get the three-game Conference USA series underway.
Coming off a complete-game shutout at Tulane, LHP Erik Schoenrock (3-1, 2.21 ERA) gets the nod on Saturday at 2 p.m. while LHP Alex Gunn (1-2, 1.52 ERA) is scheduled to start the finale on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
This weekend is Military Appreciation Weekend at FedExPark. All military personnel with valid ID and one guest will receive FREE admission to each game this weekend. The University of Memphis ROTC programs will present the colors before each game of the series.
All three games will be streamed live on the Memphis Tiger Network with Jeff Brightwell bringing the play-by-play commentary. Each game of the series can be heard live on WUMR 91.7 FM and followed via GameTracker.
March Baseball The Tigers have a record of 76-95 in the month of March since 2005. Memphis turned in their best March record in 2007, including an impressive 10-1 record at home. The Tigers have played well at home in the month of March, compiling a record 14 games over .500. However, Memphis is only 17-48 in road contests since 2005. Dating back to 1978, Memphis is 330-191-1 (.633) in March.
Strong JUCO Arms Three junior college transfer pitchers have made an immediate impact for the Tigers this season. Alex Gunn (1-2, 1.52 ERA), Jon Reed (2-0, 2.75 ERA) and Conner Porter (1-0, 2.76 ERA) have combined for 65.2 innings pitched and a 2.21 ERA. The trio has walked only 14 batters while striking out 52. Allowing just 62 hits, the trio sports a 1.16 WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched).
Tigers Continue Big Homestand The Tigers continue an 11-game homestand on this weekend with No. 19 Houston visiting FedExPark. The 11-game home stint is the first since 1995 and the longest in the brief history of FedExPark. In 2011, Memphis had a 10-game homestand and went 7-3. The Tigers were 5-6 in the 11-game stretch of 1995. Overall, Memphis has 10 previous homestands lasting 10 or more games and produced a winning record in all but 1995
Ducks on the Pond Memphis has had 39 official at-bats with the bases full this season. The Tigers have mustered nine hits in the situation, but have left the bases loaded in two of the losses this season. Zach Willis had a three-run double with the bases loaded in the win against Kent State on March 17. Bryce Beeler hit a bases clearing double in game two of the series against Buffalo for the Tigers fourth hit with the bases juiced and had another bases clearing double at UT Martin. Drew Griffin (1-for-5), Ethan Gross (1-for-5), Ford Wilson (2-for-4), Nate Rupiper (1-for-3) and Corey Chafin (1-for-1) have the other three Tiger hits with ducks on the pond this season.
Numbers Vs. Houston Below is a look at career numbers versus Houston.
Rank Em The Tigers play their second ranked foe of 2013 when Houston visits FedExPark this weekend. Memphis knocked off No. 8 Ole Miss earlier this season to improve to 92-234-2 against ranked teams in program history. Memphis sports a record of 60-170-2 versus teams ranked top-20 and the Tigers put a 2-12 record up against 19th-ranked foes. The Tigers played No. 19 Houston in 2006 at Cougar Field and was swept in the series.
Ironman Shortstop Ethan Gross has made 118 consecutive starts dating back to the second game of a doubleheader at East Carolina on March 26, 2011. If Gross starts each scheduled game this season he would tie the record for consecutive games started, which is held by Mike Dlugach (149).
The Inside Ege - Houston Ranked in the top-20 in all major polls, Houston brings a 3-0 record in league play to FedExPark. At 21-5 on the season, the Cougars have surpassed their win total from a year ago (18). Lamar snapped Houston's 10-game win streak on Tuesday. At the plate, Justin Montemayor leads the team with a .343 average. Caleb Baker has a team-high three home runs and 24 RBI. Overall, eight different players have two or more RBI for the Cougars. Kyle Survance has a club best nine steals on nine attempts and Houston is 36-44 on the basepaths for the season. On the mound, Houston sports a 3.12 ERA with 185 strikeouts to 66 walks in 231 innings. Four different players have recorded saves and Chase Wellbrock has a team-best three of the six total saves.
Elite Company Memphis pitching has posted a 2.83 ERA so far allowing a total of 90 runs, 65 earned, in 25 outings. Going back to 1978, there has been just two other occasions in which the pitching staff held the opposition to 90 or fewer runs over the first 25 games. Prior to this season, the last time the Tigers allowed fewer than 90 runs was in 1983, allowing 83 runs. The table below shows the years that Memphis has limited opponents to 90 or fewer runs in first 25 games and the win/loss record in those games.
Outscore But Lose Series Memphis outscored Tulane 22-9 in the three-game series at Turchin Stadium, but lost the series two games to one. That marked the first time since 2005 that the U of M lost a conference series in which it outscored the opposition. In 2005, Memphis outscored South Florida 27-19, but lost two games in the series. The only other series loss in Memphis' C-USA tenure came in 2003 at East Carolina as the Tigers outscored the Pirates 12-7.
Getting Runners On Base Last season, when Memphis had 14 or more runners reach base in a game, the Tigers had a record of 26-15. On the other side, when the U of M had 13 or fewer base runners in a game, Memphis had a 5-13 mark. So far in 2013, Memphis is 13-6 when 14 or more reach base and 1-5 when having 13 or fewer base runners in a game.
Parade of Lefties Memphis has started a left-handed pitcher in all 25 games this season. Looking at every Division I baseball squad, the Tigers are the only team to have lefties start every game this season. California started southpaws in their first 10 games. Kentucky started lefties in their first six games, but a right-handed pitcher started in each teams next contest. Only 12 other teams started three lefties to start the season, but in their fourth game, a right-hander took the hill.
Nail Biters Memphis has played 13 games decided by two runs or less and is 5-8 in those games. Under head coach Daron Schoenrock, the U of M is 90-112 in games decided by two runs or less.
Stolen Base Numbers
The Tigers lead Conference USA with 42 stolen bases on the season, six better than second-place Houston. Memphis had 64 stolen bases a season ago and is on pace to steal 94 this season. Among the 42 steals, nine different players have swiped two or more steals. Jake Little leads the club with eight steals while Ethan Gross is second with seven.
Record Pace Not only does the Tiger pitching staff sport an outstanding 2.31 ERA, the U of M pitchers are on a record pace for strikeouts and hits allowed in a season. The table below shows where the Tiger pitchers stack up against the record numbers.
Top Five In Record Book
Top Five In Record Book
Stick It To Cancer This season, Tiger baseball has teamed up with The Cure Baseball, to create awareness about cancer through the game of baseball. The Tigers are taking part in the Stick It To Cancer Campaign by placing The Cure Baseball's Logo sticker on the back of their batting helmets. The Tigers wear this sticker as a visual sign of support for every man, woman and child battling any and all types of cancer.
The Cure Baseball is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a goal of raising cancer awareness through the game of baseball. You can read more about the organization and its mission by visiting TheCureBaseball.org.