May 15, 2013
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The 11th club in program history to reach 32 wins in the regular season, Memphis (32-20) closes the 2013 slate with a three-game set at SEMO (22-30) beginning Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.
LHP Sam Moll (8-3, 2.44 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday to open the series against Redhawks LHP Will Spitzfaden (5-4, 4.89 ERA). Coming off of back-to-back shutouts and Conference USA Pitcher of the Week accolades, LHP Erik Schoenrock (7-3, 2.45 ERA) gets the nod on Friday. SEMO has scheduled LHP Zack Smith (2-6, 5.76 ERA) for the start on Friday at 7 p.m. The Tigers have penciled in LHP Alex Gunn (3-3, 2.52 ERA) for the start Saturday at 1 p.m. while SEMO has not named a starter.
Live coverage of Thursday's game can be found on KFVS12.com website FREE of charge. The game will be archived on the site soon after the game, also free to watch. Games on Friday and Saturday will be available on Memphis Baseball's U-Stream page, linked above.
Memphis has clinched a spot in the Conference USA Tournament at Reckling Park on the campus of Rice University May 22-26. The bracket for the tournament will be released on Saturday via ConferenceUSA.com.
The Inside Edge - SEMO
Southeast Missouri State enters the final week of the regular season with a 22-30 record, 13-17 in Ohio Valley Conference play. The Redhawks hit .279 with 23 home runs and 262 RBI on the season. Derek Gibson leads the squad with a .344 average while Matt Tellor has a team-high eight home runs and 42 RBI. Cole Bieser has a team-high 15 steals but has not played since April 14. As a club, SEMO is 65-of-87 in stolen base attempts. On the mound, SEMO sports a 5.53 ERA with 309 strikeouts and 212 walks in 457 innings.
Chasing 33 Wins
With a win Thursday, the Tigers don't only become the first team since 1994 to avoid losing three straight, but the 2013 squad would have the same regular-season win total as the 2007 NCAA Regional club. The Tigers have not won more than 33 regular season games since 1994, the club with the best record in program history at 52-11. Overall, 11 clubs, including the 2013 team, have won 32 or more regular season games in program history. Only seven have won 33 or more, and the Tigers would need a sweep at SEMO to become the sixth team in program history with 35 regular season wins.
A Win Thursday Would Mean....
If the Tigers pick up a win Thursday at SEMO, the 2013 club would be the first U of M squad to avoid losing three-straight games in a season since 1994. Memphis has lost back-to-back games seven times this season, but has come back to win the next game on each occasion. The Tigers have a scoring margin of +27 (38-11) in games following two-straight losses on the season and the pitching staff has posted two shutouts in those six games.
30 Win Seasons
The Tigers swept Marshall to improve to 30-19 on the season and in doing so, did something that has been accomplished in more than 20 years at the U of M. The Tigers posted 30 wins in 2011 and 32 last season, but you have to go all the way back to 1993-1995 seasons to find the last time the Tigers put together three-straight seasons with 30 or more victories.
Answering The Call
Memphis closer Jonathan Van Eaton set a new single-season school record with his 10th save of the season on May 5 against Marshall. His seventh save of the season, at UAB on April 13, set a new career saves record at the University of Memphis. Van Eaton closed out the win at No. 17 Rice on May 10 for his 19th carrer save, five better than Matt Yokley's career total. The NCBWA recognized Van Eaton's work, naming him to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List.
Shortstop Ethan Gross has made 146 consecutive starts dating back to the second game of a doubleheader at East Carolina on March 26, 2011. If Gross starts each game this weekend he would tie the record for consecutive games started, which is held by Mike Dlugach (149).
Memphis has played 28 games decided by two runs or less and is 13-15 in those games. Under head coach Daron Schoenrock, the U of M is 98-119 in games decided by two runs or less.
Two Out Hitting Spark
Over the last 26 games in which the Tigers have a 18-8 record, Memphis is hitting .270 (74-274) with two outs in an inning, picking up 50 RBI. In the first 27 games of the season, the Tigers were hitting .228 (62-272), driving in 42 runs with two outs in an inning. The two-out hitting seems to be a key as 53 percent (50-94) of the Tigers RBI in the last 26 games have come with two outs.
Three Hits An Win
Memphis mustered just three hits in the 1-0 victory over Marshall on May 4. Of the Tigers three hits in the game, two were doubles, but it was a wild pitch that gave the Tigers a 1-0 win. The last time the Tigers won when tallying only three hits came on May 9, 2003 versus Houston (4-3).
Give Me Three To Five
With a pitching staff that sports an ERA of 2.81, Memphis' magic number on offense is fairly low. The Tigers are 23-2 this season when scoring at least five runs this season, 26-4 when scoring four or more and 28-8 when putting three or more runs on the scoreboard. The two losses in which Memphis scored five or more runs were 9-8 decisions against Buffalo and UAB, respectively.
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 26-11 when 14 or more reach base and 6-10 when having 13 or fewer base runners in a game.
Parade of Lefties
The Tigers have played 53 games this season and the U of M has sent a left-handed starter to the hill in 51 of those games, including the last 15 games. Memphis started a lefty in the first 32 games before right-hander Dylan Toscano started against UAPB on April 10. Toscano has since made two starts, allowing two hits over nine innings of work.