MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis (15-13, 2-4 C-USA) continues Conference USA play as UCF (18-12, 4-2 C-USA) visits FedExPark for a three-game series.
LHP Sam Moll (4-2, 3.02 ERA) takes the mound in game one of the series on Friday against UCF RHP Ben Lively (5-2, 0.35 ERA). LHP Erik Schoenrock (3-2, 2.11 ERA) gets the ball on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the nod goes to LHP Alex Gunn (2-2, 1.29 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. UCF has not officially announced a probable starter for Saturday and Sunday at this time.
Each game of the series can be seen live on the Memphis Tiger Network. Jeff Brightwell brings the play-by-play action on WUMR 91.7 FM and the official Twitter account of Memphis Baseball, @UofMBaseball, will post updates throughout each game.
April Baseball In April, the Tigers have posted a winning record four times since 2005, but have an overall record of 67-80. Memphis only played five home games in April a season ago, and went 2-3 in those games. However, the Tigers had a combined home record of 15-10 the previous two seasons. On the road, Memphis holds a record of 33-34, including an 8-2 record in 2007. Last year the Tigers posted a road record of 6-6 in April.
Strong Juco Arms Three junior college transfer pitchers have made an immediate impact for the Tigers this season. Alex Gunn (2-2, 1.29 ERA), Jon Reed (2-0, 3.10 ERA) and Conner Porter (1-0, 2.76 ERA) have combined for 71.2 innings pitched and a 2.15 ERA. The trio has walked only 17 batters while striking out 59. Allowing just 62 hits, the trio sports a 1.17 WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched).
Tigers Continue Homestand The Tigers continue a 10-game homestand Friday against UCF at FedExPark. In 2011, Memphis had a 10-game homestand and went 7-3. Overall, Memphis has 10 previous homestands lasting 10 or more games and produced a winning record in all but the 11-game homestand (5-6) in 1995.
Ducks On The Pond Memphis has had 40 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.
Ironman Shortstop Ethan Gross has made 121 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 Edge UCF sports an 18-12 record overall and a 4-2 record after two weeks of league play. The Knights swept UAB in the opening weekend of C-USA play before losing two-of-three against Southern Miss last weekend. Chris Taladay paces the club with a .378 average and has a team-high 28 RBI.Erik Hempe is second on the club in average (.342) and RBI (22) and the squad hits .264 on the year. Jeramy Matos leads the team with six home runs and UCF has homered 18 times on the year. JoMarcus Woods is 6-for-8 on the base paths and the Knights are 24-42 on the season. On the mound, Friday night starter Ben Lively has a microscopic 0.35 ERA in 51.1 IP allowing just five runs, two earned. As a staff, UCF has a 3.34 ERA in 267 innings with 219 strikeouts and 95 walks.
Numbers Vs. Houston Below is a look at career numbers versus Houston.
Elite Company Memphis pitching has posted a 2.74 ERA so far allowing a total of 95 runs, 75 earned, in 28 outings. Going back to 1978, only the 1983 pitching staff has allowed fewer runs over the first 28 games of the season. The 1983 staff allowed 91 runs in the first 28 games of that season. The table below shows the years that Memphis has limited opponents to 105 or fewer runs in first 28 games and the win/loss record in those games.
This Seems Familiar Memphis scored two runs in the three-game series versus No. 19 Houston over the weekend. Last season, the Tigers scored a pair of runs in a series sweep at the hands of Southern Miss. Like the 2013 schedule, the Tigers were scheduled to play Ole Miss the following Tuesday before playing UCF the next weekend. The series against Houston and Southern Miss are the only two occasions in program history that the Tigers scored two runs. It's the fifth time in any three game stretch with two runs scored going back to 1978.
Nail Biters Memphis has played 16 games decided by two runs or less and is 6-10 in those games. Under head coach Daron Schoenrock, the U of M is 91-114 in games decided by two runs or less.
5-1 VS SEC The Tigers handed No. 8 Ole Miss its first loss of 2013 on Feb. 26 for the fourth-straight win versus SEC opponents and the U of M shutout Alabama 6-0 for a fifth-straight win over SEC opponents. Alabama held on for a 4-2 victory over the Tigers on March 13 to put Memphis at 5-1 against SEC competition. Dating back to the 2012 season, Memphis has won seven of its last nine contests against SEC opponents and the U of M has one scheduled game against SEC members this year.
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 2-7 when having 13 or fewer base runners in a game.
Parade of Lefties Memphis has started a left-handed pitcher in all 28 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.
Stolen Base Numbers The Tigers lead Conference USA with 43 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 84 this season. Among the 43 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.
One Hit Away In 12 of Memphis' 13 losses this season, the tying run has been on base, at the plate or on deck in the final at-bat. The table below shows the losses and where the tying run was when the game ended.
Opponent (Game #)
Illinois State (1), Houston (27)
Illinois State (2), Alabama (16), Kent State (19), Houston (25)
UL-Monroe (11), Tulane (21)
Tulane (23), Middle Tennessee (24)
Arkansas State (4), Buffalo* (14)
* - Indicates Bases Loaded
Record Pace Not only does the Tiger pitching staff sport an outstanding 2.74 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.