Baseball Hosts East Carolina in Final Regular Season Series
May 14, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Trailing UAB by just a half game for the eighth and final spot in the upcoming C-USA Championships, the University of Memphis baseball will take on East Carolina in the final regular season series in a must-win predicament. The Tigers and Pirates will kickoff the league's last weekend series on Thursday, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. Friday's contest is set for 6:30 p.m., while Saturday's finale is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Friday, May 16, 2008 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 17, 2008 1 p.m.
About the Tigers
It has been a tough year for the Tigers, who check in at 16-36. Offensively, Memphis ranks last in Conference USA in 10 categories, while leading the leading in strikeouts. The team's 439 K's ranks as the fifth-most in program history. Sophomore Trey Wiedman continues to hold a team-best .302 batting average. He also leads the offense with 58 hits, 36 RBI and seven home runs. Freshman Chad Zurcher has moved into the leadoff spot in the order and leads the team with 36 runs scored to go with 26 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
On the hill, the Tigers have been in the middle of the league, posting a 6.20 ERA with 397 strikeouts (fourth-most ever at Memphis). Junior ace Scott McGregor paces the staff and ranks eighth in the league with 73.2 innings pitched. Despite his 1-7 record, the right-hander has maintained a strong 4.76 ERA and has struck out 53. Senior Neil Schenk is wrapping up his collegiate career in fine fashion, the southpaw is the leader with a 3.82 ERA in a staff-high 18 outings. He has fanned 37 and holds opponents to just a .237 batting average. Sophomore Garrett Hachtel has quietly been effective in 17 appearances. The Cordova High product is second on the staff with a 4.72 ERA.
Scouting the Pirates
The Pirates showcase the league's strongest offense. ECU leads Conference USA in batting average (.320), slugging (.498), on base percentage (.409), runs (420), hits (592), RBI (389), home runs (71) and total bases (922). Eight Pirate hitters are listed among the league leaders in 14 offensive categories. Harrison Eldridge leads the club and ranks eighth in the league with a .368 batting average. The senior outfielder is second in the league with 30 stolen bases, third in C-USA with a .477 on base percentage, fourth with 77 hits, seventh with 37 walks and eighth with 53 runs scored. Eldridge is joined by six other teammates that hit .300 or better--Corey Kemp (.361), Stephen Batts (.353.), Brandon Henderson (.350), Jamie Ray (.324), Ryan Wood (.315) and Dustin Harrington (.309). Kemps is ninth in the league in hitting, but leads all C-USA players with 14 home runs. Wood is third in C-USA with 12 bombs to go with 63 runs scored. Batts and Henderson have 72 and 71 hits, respectively.
On the mound, the ECU pitchers have put together a season that rates as one of the top three in C-USA. The staff has a combined 4.07 ERA in a league-high 476 innings of work. They rank second the conference with a .254 opponent's batting average and fourth with 402 strikeouts. The Pirates weekend rotation of Seth Maness, Justin Bristow and T.J. Hose has a combined 20-7 record. Maness, a freshman, is second in the league with a stout 8-1 record. He leads the team and ranks fifth in C-USA with a 3.11 ERA and 67 strikeouts. Bristow is 7-2 with a 3.17 ERA. His .240 opponent's average is fifth in the league, while his 64 K's ranks seventh.
All-Time Series vs. East Carolina
Last Time vs. ECU
ECU put the game out of reach with six runs in the fifth. The Pirates, who sent 11 hitters to the plate in the frame, got singles in seven consecutive at-bats and added a sac fly to go ahead 11-0.
Joey Lieberman snapped a string of 17-straight scoreless inning by the Tiger offense when he lifted a sac fly to center to score K.K. Chalmers. After the eight-run sixth inning in the series opener, the U of M managed just one run for the remainder of the series.
Memphis starter Marc Ashley took the loss after giving up eight runs on 10 hits in four innings of work in his first C-USA appearance.
Last Time Out
The Tigers outlasted the Bulldogs, 9-8, in 10 innings on April 8. However, in the final meeting between Head Coach Daron Schoenrock and his mentor Ron Polk, it was the teacher that came out victorious in pitcher's dual.