April 26, 2011
Clarksville, Tenn. -
Head coach Daron Schoenrock and the University of Memphis baseball team hit the road for a matchup with Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Raymond C. Hand Park. Junior pitcher Tyler Farley will make his first start for the Blue and Gray on Wednesday.
Wednesday's game will be carried live on WUMR 91.7 FM with play-by-play by Jeff Brightwell. Live chat and stats are also available at GoTigersGo.com and you can follow the Tigers on Twitter (@UofMBaseball) for in-game updates.
The Tigers host Marshall at FedExPark for a three-game league series. Following the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m., Memphis will play six of seven on the road.
Zurcher Among Best Hitters Nationally
With his .462 batting average, shortstop Chad Zurcher leads is among the top-five hitters in college baseball. Zurcher lead the nation in hitting for three weeks, but a 4-for-28 performance over six games dropped his average from .531 to .454. On Sunday, Zurcher collected his first multi-hit game in his last eight games with a three-hit game against UCF. On the season, Zurcher has two or more hits in 23 of the 40 games he has played in and has posted three or more hits in a game seven times this season. Of his 67 hits, 16 are extra-base hits (14 2B, 2 3B). As a freshman, Zurcher hit .267 and had 51 hits in 53 games played. Last season, Zurcher hit .400 and collected 93 hits.
As one of the top hitters in the nation, you would expect that Chad Zurcher would be on base a lot. With 27 walks, Zurcher not only hits to find his way on base, but he leads the nation in on-base percentage at .571. Zurcher has reached base two or more times in 34 of the 40 games he has played in. Zurcher has been hit by a pitch 14 times this season. If Zurcher doesn't get on base, he will put the ball in play as he sports a .586 slugging percentage. Zurcher has struck out just six times this season.
The Series With Austin Peay
Memphis leads the all-time series with Austin Peay at 28-21. The Tigers won 22 of the first 27 games in the series, but since the 1996 season, Austin Peay has won 15 of the last 22 matchups, including seven of the last 10. Memphis travels to Austin Peay for the first time since the 2006 season and the Tigers have not had much recent success at Raymond C. Hand Park. The U of M is 8-10 all-time in Clarksville, Tenn., but the Tigers have not won at Austin Peay since the 1997 season. Memphis has dropped five-straight at Austin Peay heading into Wednesday's matchup with the Govs.
The Inside Edge
Austin Peay has struggled in midweek contests this season, carrying a 3-9 record into their game at Belmont on Tuesday. Overall, the Govs stand at 18-19 on the season entering play on Tuesday at Belmont. Michael Blanchard leads the club with a .350 batting average and five other players have a .300-plus batting average. John Hogan and Cody Hudson lead the squad with five home runs each and Hogan owns the team lead with 34 RBI. On the mound, the Govs have a 6.04 team ERA and only Shawn Zabriskie (2.57) carries a ERA below 3.00. Austin Peay probable starter Alex Belew sports a 7.83 ERA and has tossed 23 innings on the year. The Govs have 59 errors on the season and have a .957 fielding percentage. With the 59 errors, Austin Peay has allowed 52 unearned runs to its opponents.
Although the U of M dropped two of three against UCF, the Tigers are 20-9 in weekend series. The Tigers have four weekend sweeps this season, the most in a season since the 1994 squad had seven three-game sweeps and posted a 52-11 record. The 2011 club is only the fifth team in program history to record four sweeps in a season. The 1994 squad holds the record at seven sweeps and the 1981 team had five sweeps and finished that season 48-11-1. In 1977, the Tigers had four sweeps and finished the season at 34-14. The 2007 squad posted four sweeps and finished with a 36-27 record.
With a 20-9 mark in weekend series, midweek games have puzzled the Tigers this season. Memphis carries a 4-8 record to this week's midweek battle with Austin Peay. Memphis has outscored its opponents 59-58 in the 12 midweek games and the Tigers average 4.92 runs per game during midweek battles. On the weekends, the U of M averages 7.83 runs per game and has outscored opponents 227-133 in those 29 games.
Memphis earned a series sweep at UAB April 16-17 and the last time the Tigers earned a series sweep at UAB was in the 2007 season. Memphis entered that series at 19-14 on the season after dropping a midweek home-and-home series to Murray State. The U of M travelled to Young Memorial Field this season with an identical 19-14 record and left with a 22-14 record. Following the sweep at UAB in 2007, Memphis would lose two of three in a home series against Marshall.
With new bats in college baseball, generating offense has come down to getting a leadoff man on base and clutch hitting with two outs in an inning. The Tigers have had some success this season with two outs as the offense has produced 107, two-out RBI this season. The U of M had 121, two-out RBI at this point last season and was batting .300 (139-464) with two outs. The Tigers have a .303 (138-456) average with two outs this year. In C-USA games this season, the Tigers are hitting .244 with two outs and have 21 two-out RBI. Memphis has 27 home runs this season and 13 have come with two outs in an inning. T.J. Rich leads the U of M with 20, two-out RBI and three other Tigers have 10 or more two-out RBI.
Tigers Capture Program Victory No. 1600
With the recent research gathered by Memphis stat historian John Guniozzo, the Tiger baseball program claimed win No. 1600 all-time on March 12 in game two of the doubleheader against Saint Peter's. After fielding a team for the first time in 1913, Memphis has a record of 1616-1214-16 all-time.
Off To A Good Start
Just in the last 20 games, the Tigers have pounced on opponents early, producing 61 runs in the first three innings. On the season, Memphis has scored 119 runs in the first three innings and when the Tigers score first, the U of M is 16-8. On the mound, Memphis has limited its opponents to just 51 runs in the first three innings.
The Tigers have played several nail bitters this season and in games decided by two runs or less this season, Memphis is 6-12. The Tigers have five come-from-behind wins this season and have seven one run losses. In the five league losses, the Tigers have lost by a combined nine runs. A similarity in the rallies has been the leadoff man reaching to start the inning and the Tigers have put a leadoff man on in four of the five comebacks via one walk, two singles and three doubles.
New Bats Hurting The Tigers??
Although college baseball switched to the new BBCOR bats, the Memphis offense has had no trouble adjusting to the new bat. The Tiger offense leads C-USA with a .316 batting average and is tied for 11th in the country. After averaging more than five hits per game higher, Memphis has 31 (442) fewer hits than it did at this point last season (473). The Tigers are minus 11 with 27 home runs compared the 2010 squad that had 38 at this point last season. The Tigers have scored double-digit runs in 12 games. Memphis has pounded out double-digit hits in 26 games. The Tigers have cut down on the strikeouts with 89 fewer strikeouts than a season ago and the U of M has walked 24 more times than the 2010 club.
Chad Zurcher continues to climb the charts for hits in a career as he moved to sixth with 224 career hits. Zurcher needs six hits to tie for fifth. Drew Martinez is right on Zurcher heels as he has climbed to eighth all-time with 207 career hits. The dynamic duo has ascended in the record book for runs scored as well, each tied at ninth all-time with 134 runs scored. Zurcher (47) and Martinez (43) are already in the top 10 for steals with Zurcher in ninth and Martinez in 10th. Jacob Wilson is climbing the record books for career doubles as he is currently in eighth with 44.
Senior southpaw Ryan Holland leads Conference USA with eight pick-offs this season. Holland has picked off two base runners in two of his outings (Kennesaw State and Saint Peter's) and added another against Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Illinois, Alcorn State and Southern Miss. As a pitching staff, Memphis leads C-USA with 18 pickoffs.
In Like A Lamb, Out Like A Lion
As the saying normally states, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but for Tiger Baseball it had the opposite effect. After a 5-2 record in February, the U of M was 8-9 in March. April should be good for the Tigers as they will play 15 of the scheduled 20 games on the monthly calendar in the Bluff City. The Tiger bats were warm in February as the Tigers hit .354 on the month, but the bats cooled off in March with the Tigers carrying a .280 average. So far in April, the Tigers are hitting .334 as a club. Memphis had just three errors in February, but March saw the Tigers defense collect 17 errors. Under head coach Daron Schoenrock, the U of M is 58-69 in the month of April with the best record coming in the 2007 season at 12-5.
Get The Lead-Off Man On Base
Numbers support the notion that getting a leadoff batter on base increases the likelihood of scoring runs in an inning. That has certainly been the case for the Tigers in 2011. Memphis has put its leadoff batter on base 45 percent (157-353) of the time and when the leadoff man reaches base, Memphis has scored 78 runs. Tiger leadoff man Drew Martinez has reached base in 29 of his 65 (.446) plate appearances as a leadoff hitter. Chad Zurcher sports a 23-for-35 (.657) mark as a lead-off man.
Walking In Memphis
Memphis has taken 184 walks this season and took the free base 33 times in the first six games. Jacob Wilson and Chad Zurcher have each tied a single-game record with four walks in a game this season. T.J. Rich leads the club with 29 walks. Drew Martinez is second on the squad with 28 walks and Zurcher has walked 27 times this season. Eight of the nine batters in the Tigers lineup have walked 10 or more times on the season.
"Let's Get Some Runs"
As the former Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray would say during the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field, the Tigers are in need of some runs following the seventh inning stretch. Of the 286 runs scored this season, the U of M has scored 46 after the seventh inning. When leading after seven innings, Memphis is 22-2 and when the game is tied or the Tigers trail, Memphis is 3-13 this season.
The Tigers have been involved in 11 games this season decided by one run. The U of M is 4-7 in those games and under head coach Daron Schoenrock, Memphis is 47-52 (since 2005).
Double Your Pleasure
Phillip Chapman leads the club with 16 doubles this season. As a team, Memphis has 93 doubles this season. Chad Zurcher is second on the club with 14 doubles and Jacob Wilson has 13. Chapman ranks tied for second in C-USA with his 16 doubles.
Getting Off The Schneid
After going 5-for-24 (.208) with runners in scoring position at East Carolina, the Tigers have gotten off the schneid. Memphis is hitting .366 (85-232) since that series and the Tigers have produced 152 runs in the 19-game stretch. On the season, the U of M is hitting .330 (164-497). Thus far in league play, the Tigers are hitting .303 (41-133) with runners in scoring position. Chad Zurcher leads Memphis with a .520 average with runners in scoring position. T.J. Rich is second on the club with a .483 average.
Now in his seventh year at the helm of the Memphis baseball program, head coach Daron Schoenrock claimed his milestone 150th win as the Tigers' skipper on Feb. 20th against Evansville. Schoenrock passed the late Al Brown at No. 3 on Memphis's all-time coaching wins ledger with his 157th career victory on March 15 against UT Martin. Schoenrock needs only four wins to reach a 200th career victory.
The U of M pitching staff sports a 4.21 ERA this season and when the Tigers score four or more runs, Memphis is 23-5 and when scoring less than four Memphis is 1-12. Roughly 56 percent of the Tigers 286 runs (161 of 286) have come in the first four innings.
The Tigers have defended the home turf pretty well this season and with seven home games left at FedExPark, Memphis will need to keep up that success. The Tigers are 17-9 at FedExPark this season. The U of M is 34-19 at FedExPark and has won 23 of the last 28 games at the renovated ballpark. In head coach Daron Schoenrock's tenure, the Tigers are 80-80 at home.
Moll-ing Them Down
Freshman southpaw Sam Moll has been mowing down opposing hitters in his first season in the Blue and Gray. After four appearances in the bullpen, Moll has made five-straight starts in midweek games for the Tigers. In those starts, Moll has 37 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched. Moll posted seven scoreless innings and earned his second victory on the mound in the 9-2 victory over Ole Miss on April 5. On the season, Moll has fanned 48 batters and he sports a 2.68 ERA.
Tiger hurler Dan Langfield struck out 16 batters at Kennesaw State on Feb. 25. His 16 strikeouts were the second-most in school history and C-USA single-game history. On the season, Langfield leads the Tiger pitching staff with 58 strikeouts.
The Tiger duo of Drew Martinez and Chad Zurcher are back in form after leading the Tigers to its first Conference USA Tournament appearance since 2007. Both players were honored as 2011 Preseason All-C-USA performers. The Tigers All-C-USA tandem, which combined for 190 hits, 113 runs, 39 stolen bases and a .388 batting average in 2010, picked up where they left off, batting .385, with 120 hits and 80 runs scored this year. The duo has claimed 27 steals on the base paths and has 27 extra-base hits.
"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"
As the B.J. Thomas lyric goes, rain drops keep falling on Tiger Baseball. Memphis has had two rain outs this season. The rain out with Oral Roberts on March 4 will be made up as Arkansas-Pine Bluff will visit FedExPark for a 6:30 p.m. game on May 10. The rained out game with Auburn on March 9 will not be made up, but head coach Daron Schoenrock added a doubleheader with Mississippi Valley State on March 30 to make up the rain out. The Tigers schedule was changed once again with anticipated rainfall in the Greenville, N.C. area as the Tigers played a doubleheader against East Carolina on March 26. The U of M played its fourth double dip of the season on April 16 after game one of the set at UAB was postponed due to bad weather. The Tigers are 6-2 in doubleheaders this season and Memphis improved to 19-13 in doubleheaders under head coach Daron Schoenrock.
Where Is The Production Coming From?
When looking closely at game-by-game box scores, Memphis has gotten most of its offensive firepower from the first four batters in the lineup. This season, the first four hitters are batting .333. The first four batters have provided 48 percent (125-263) of the clubs RBI this season and 53 percent (152-286) of the runs scored. When the first four batters in the lineup collect four or more hits, the Tigers are 21-9 this season. Four is the magic number in runs scored as the Tigers are 17-1 when the first four batters account for four or more runs. The Tigers first four batters have hit .250 or better in 30 of the 41 games this season and Memphis is 21-9 in those games. The first four batters broke a 7-for-51 (.137) four-game slump with a 10-18 (.556) performance on Sunday.
What About The Bottom Of The Order?
With the top of the order producing just over half of the runs this season, what is the bottom of the order doing you may ask. The 7-8-9 hitters are batting .303 on the season and have 71 RBI. The 7-8-9 hitters have scored 72 runs for the Tiger offense and when those hitters score three or more times, Memphis is 12-1. When the last three batters in the order hit at a .250 clip or higher, Memphis is 21-4 on the season.
All In The Family
This year's edition of Tiger baseball showcases a unique twist for head coach Daron Schoenrock. This roster features a second Schoenrock, as Daron's son Erik is a freshman left-handed pitcher on the 2011 squad. Erik earned a win against Saint Peter's on March 13 to give his father his 156th win at the U of M. With that win, Daron tied the late Al Brown for third all-time on Memphis' coaching wins ledger.