May 16, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - Memphis (26-26, 11-10) wraps up the regular season schedule with a three-game series at Houston (17-30-1, 5-15-1) beginning Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Game two is slated for 6:30 p.m. Friday and the regular season finale is Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Live stats are available on GoTigersGo.com. You can also listen to the game on WUMR 91.7 FM. Follow Tiger Baseball on Twitter (@UofMBaseball) for in-game updates.
The Tigers carry a 195-191 record in games played in May since the 1977 season. Memphis has had one season above .500 under Coach Schoenrock, a 9-7 record in 2006. Including postseason tournaments, the Tigers have been .500 or better in three of Schoenrock’s seven previous seasons. Memphis is 43-61 under Schoenrock in May.
Behind The “Eight” Ball
A 7.11 ERA haunts the Tigers in the eighth inning as the club has allowed 43 runs, 40 earned, on 67 hits. Opponents have 20 extra-base hits including 15 doubles in the eighth inning. On the season, Memphis has been outscored 43-34 in the eighth and in C-USA play, Memphis holds a 21-19 edge. Opponents have five big innings (scoring three or more runs) in the eighth against Memphis. In the last 23 games, Memphis has outscored the opposition 23-6 in the eighth.
Quality Starting Pitching
Memphis has 31 quality starts from its pitching staff in 51 games, 14 more than the staff posted all of last season. The Tigers have a 18-13 record in the 31 quality starts. In C-USA play, Langfield, Moll and Joiner have a combined 3.10 ERA with 112 strikeouts in 142.1 innings. Moll has a 1.89 ERA in league games and he has allowed 11 earned runs in 52.1 innings of league play.
The Series With Houston
Houston carries a dominant 36-11 advantage in the series between the two clubs that dates back to 1997. Memphis has won three of the last five meetings but carries a 1-20 record in games played in Houston. In those 21 games, Houston has outscored the Tigers 174-73. Of the 21 games in Houston, eight of the losses have been by three or fewer runs, including five of the last six losses to the Cougars. Including four games of C-USA Tournament action at Cougar Field, Memphis has a 3-24 mark.
The Inside Edge - Houston
The Cougars sport a 17-30-1 record entering the final weekend of the regular season. Houston has an 11-11 mark on the home field and is paced by Jacob Lueneburg offensively. Lueneburg hits at a .313 clip and the Cougars are hitting .268 on the season. Houston has 10 HR on the season with three by Landon Appling being a team-high. Chase Jensen paces the club with 30 RBI while Price Jacobs has a team-high 10 doubles. On the mound, Houston has a staff ERA of 5.14 with 300 strikeouts in 421.2 innings pitched. Starter Austin Pruitt has a 3-3 record and 3.58 ERA while Jordan Lewis has a 5.28 ERA and a 3-7 record.
How Will They Finish?
The Tigers have struggled in the final weekend of the season, winning the final three-game series just four times since joining C-USA in 1996. Memphis is 17-29 since 1996 in the last series of the year. The 2004 club is the last team to win a series on the road in the final weekend of play. The Tigers are 6-19 in road series to wrap up the season and this series marks the second time Memphis has played Houston to do so, first since 1998.
Getting Over The Hump
Memphis can climb above .500 on the season with a win on Thursday, but that opportunity is just the fifth the Tigers have had this season. In the previous four attempts, last coming on March 4 vs. Bradley, the Tigers have lost by a combined score of 28-15 and scored two or fewer runs in two of the four games.
The Tigers have recorded 94 doubles this season, but after averaging over two doubles per game the first 32 games this year, the squad has 27 in the last 20 games. Eli Hynes leads the club with 16 doubles and Adam McClain has added 13. Memphis has recorded two or more doubles in 27 of 52 games, including the first 10 in a row. The Tigers posted nine doubles in the three-game series at Missouri, the most in a three-game set this season.
Since being swept at Southern Miss in April, the Tigers have scored 71 runs and hit a .297 clip. In that span, the Tigers are 9-3 and have 30 extra-base hits (20 double and 10 HR). The club also has swiped 15 bags in those 12 games.
Good Start, But What About Finish?
Last season, the Tigers pounced on opponents early, outscoring its opponents 156-81 in the first three innings. In the sixth through the final out, Memphis was outscored 156-115. So far in 2012, Memphis is outscoring opponents 94-73 in the first three and the Tigers have outscored opponents 121-113 after the fifth.
Jacob Wilson and Adam McClain are in pursuit of top-10 positions in the record books for career numbers. McClain (255-2nd) and Wilson (246-5th) are neck-and-neck as they ascend up the career hits list. Wilson has 59 career doubles which is third all-time. The two seniors are also climbing the charts in games played as Wilson (218-2nd) and McClain (214-4th) have eclipsed the top-five this season. Wilson recorded his 180th career RBI on May 15 to move 12 RBI shy of tying for first all-time. Wilson needs to score two more runs to pass Tim Dulin for second all-time in runs scored. Dan Langfield became the seventh pitcher with 200 career strikeouts and Langfield needs 26 punch outs to pass Lonnie Glass for second all-time.
Memphis Wins Series Over Big 12 Foe
Memphis won two-of-three at Missouri last weekend to claim the programs first three-game series victory over a Big 12 opponent. The Tigers had two-game series wins over Missouri in 1978 and Kansas State in 1962, 1963 and 1964.
On A Roll
The Tigers are winners of nine of the last 12 games to improve their record to 26-26. In that span, Memphis has outscored the opposition 71-51 with 10 HR and 59 RBI. The pitching staff has posted a 3.57 ERA in that span with three saves and three wins by Jonathan Van Eaton. Memphis has also won five-straight C-USA games for the first time since 2007 and only seventh time since joining the league in 1996.
Jacob Wilson hit a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning to give Memphis a 3-2 win over Austin Peay on March 13. The win was Memphis’ 15th when scoring three or fewer runs and first since March 26, 2011. Since 2006, Memphis is 18-106 in games where they score three runs or less. Last season, the Tigers were 1-15 with three or fewer runs scored. This season, Memphis is 2-16 when scoring three or fewer runs.
The Tigers have pounced on opponents early as the U of M has outscored the opposition 35-14 in the first inning this season. Memphis has scored in the first inning 17 out of 52 games and carries a 12-5 record in those games. The Tigers ended an 11-game drought without scoring in the first with the help of a two-run homer by Jacob Wilson at Murray State on April 18.
No Need For Bullpen Today
Memphis starting pitching has combined to record five complete-game efforts this season. The five complete games are the most since the 1999 club posted six. This year’s pitching staff has the most complete-game shutouts since the 1999 season when Craig House and Josh Padgett each had complete-game gems.
Out of the Pen
The Memphis bullpen has keyed the Tigers surge lately. The bullpen sports 1.95 ERA in the last 12 games as Jonathan Van Eaton, Patrick Bailey, Erik Schoenrock and Dylan Toscano have each allowed one earned run in 5+ IP. The bullpen has held opponents to a .204 average against in that span.
The Tigers played several nail bitters last season and in games decided by two runs or less, Memphis finished 9-14, 7-6 in league play. The Tigers had five come-from-behind wins and nine one run losses. The Tigers are 8-12, 3-5 in league play, in games decided by two runs or less this season. The Tigers are 48-48 all time in C-USA games decided by one run. In C-USA games decided by two or fewer runs, the Tigers sport a 73-80 record.
Strikeouts Adding Up For Langfield
Dan Langfield has ascended up the record books for career strikeouts he enters the weekend with 241 career strikeouts, third all-time. In just three seasons, Langfield has soared up the record books and if he continues his pace this season, he could finish in the top five for strikeouts in a season. Leading C-USA with 100 punch outs this season, Langfield is on pace for 119 strikeouts this season, which would put him second for single-season strikeouts.
Memphis is 99-143 under head coach Daron Schoenrock following a loss. After a 9-32 record in the 2005 season following a loss, the Tigers are 90-111 since. In the last three seasons, the U of M is 45-36 following a loss. This season, the Tigers are 15-11 following a loss.
Head Coach Daron Schoenrock has penned a lineup 52 times this season and each game has seen five or more underclassmen making starts. Memphis has had six underclassmen in the lineup in nine games and five underclassmen in 43 games.
Friday Night Lights
Memphis has struggled this season under the Friday night lights as the Tigers are 4-8 on Friday’s. Memphis is hitting .268 compared to .285 in the other 39 games. The Tigers average 4.42 runs per game on Friday and 5.77 in other games. On the mound, the Tigers have a 2.55 ERA on Friday, but a 4.54 ERA in other games.
Since the 2005 season, the Tigers are 64-98 in road games. The last time Memphis had a winning record on the road came back in the 2006 season when the Tigers were 13-11.
The Tigers begin postseason play at the C-USA Tournament in Pearl, Miss. The tournament pods and gametimes will be announced late Saturday or Sunday.