Feb. 24, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Tiger softball will head out west to put its school-record 9-2 start on the line, Friday, at the Stanford Nike Invitational. The Tigers will kick the event off at 9 a.m. (PT), Friday, against #24 Kentucky, followed by a 1:30 p.m. tilt with host #16/17 Stanford. Saturday's match-ups will be more spread out, with Memphis taking on North Dakota State at 11:15 a.m., then enjoying an extended break before facing off with UC Davis at 8:15 p.m. The Tigers close play Sunday with an 11:15 a.m. match-up with Colorado State.
All five games Memphis will play in the Stanford Nike Invitational can be followed through live stats provided by CBS College Sports GameTracker. Live chat provided by Memphis Media Relations will also be available for each game. Links to the live chat and GameTracker can be found at GoTigersGo.com.
Last Time Out
The Tigers opened the home schedule with a doubleheader sweep of Alabama A&M, Feb. 23. In the first game, freshman Ellen Roberts got the win with a three-hit shutout, striking out four. Senior Maddie McKinley and junior Alyssa Palmieri collected three hits apiece and freshman Libby Goranson drove in three runs in the five-inning home opener.
The second contest featured another standout performance on the mound, with senior Lauren Carley giving up only one hit in five innings while striking out six for the shutout victory. Three Tigers (McKinley, senior Heather Mott and junior Jessica Phillips) hit home runs in game two, and seven of the Tigers' nine hits went for extra bases.
Nice To Meet You
This season, the Tigers face 10 opponents for the first time in program history. Nine of Memphis' first 14 opponents are against teams the Tiger Softball program has never played. Memphis meets Kentucky for the second time after a first meeting at the FIU Combat Classic earlier this season. The Tigers will meet Stanford, UC Davis and Colorado State for the first time in program history during the tournament this weekend. Memphis is 3-1 in first time meetings this season with wins over Ohio State, Kentucky and Georgia State. The Tigers are 43-49 all-time in first-time meetings and 25-24 when a first-time meeting is played at a neutral site.
Caution: Rough Road Ahead!
Memphis faced a tough test to begin the season with the FIU Combat Classic, but the schedule didn't get any easier from there. The Tigers play 21 of their first 23 games away from Tiger Softball Complex. In the first 23 games, Memphis will face 10 teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010, including four of the first five games.
Tigers In The Golden State
Memphis has previously played in California twice in the six year history of the program. Last season, the Tigers played in the UC-Santa Barbara Gaucho Classic hosted and defeated Drexel 2-1, but lost to North Dakota State 6-1. Memphis traveled to California for the first time in 2007 and went 4-1 in the University of San Diego Tournament.
Hummel Among C-USA Leaders
After one week of the season, Carly Hummel is among the top-five pitchers in C-USA in several statistical categories. She sits in the top-five in wins with five (2nd), ERA at 0.74 (3rd), opposing batting average at .128 (3rd), strikeouts with 36 (3rd), innings pitched with 37.2 (2nd) and batters struck out looking with 12 (4th).
With four runs in the first inning of both games of the doubleheader against Alabama A&M, Memphis has now put up 18 first-inning runs in 2011. The Tigers topped North Florida 3-0 to open the season and all three runs came in the first inning. Memphis again scored three first inning runs in the second game of the season against DePaul, but dropped that game 6-5. After scoring one run in the first against Ohio State, the U of M scored two runs off a Maddie McKinley two-run shot to take an early lead against Kentucky. When scoring in the first inning this season, Memphis is 6-1 and 8-1 when scoring first in a game.
Memphis has now won seven straight after starting the season 2-2. The seven-game winning streak is the second-longest in school history, one behind the 2007 squads eight-gamer from April 25 to May 10. Over the course of this streak, five wins have been Tiger shutouts (including four in a row), with sophomore Carly Hummel picking up three wins (two shutouts) and a save. The Bakersfield, Calif. native has thrown 28 innings and scattered nine hits and just two earned runs in that time, striking out 24 batters.
The Tigers have come through at the plate as well, with timely hitting from seniors Maddie McKinley and Heather Mott. McKinley is hitting .412 during the current streak (7-for-17) with a double, two homer, eight runs batted in and five runs scored.
Hitting one spot ahead of McKinley, Mott has been a catalyst for the Tiger offense, hitting .444 (8-for-18) with two triples, two home runs, three runs batted in and six runs scored in the last seven contests.
Better Late Than Never
The Tiger offense has produced 11 sixth-inning runs in nine games and those 11 runs have come in handy. Memphis tied DePaul with a two-run sixth and rallied with four runs in the sixth against FIU to tie, but dropped both games. Last weekend, Memphis used the sixth inning to earn three victories. Memphis used one-run sixth innings to post victories over Appalachian State and Lipscomb. A three-run sixth helped the Tigers top Georgia State after trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning.
Mott Adds to Triples Record
With her first inning triple against Alabama A&M, Heather Mott not only provided a spark for what would eventually be a four-run inning but continued to add to the school's career triples record. She now has nine in her career and two this season, putting her one away from tying the school's single-season record of three triples that Mott set in 2008.
Thief in the Night
McKinley stole three bases in game one against the Bulldogs, raising her total this season to six. It was the first time a Tiger stole three bases in a game since Brittany Gooch did it against Mississippi Valley State, Feb 23, 2007, and moved her past Tori Gross (2006-09) into third all-time with 29 career steals.
In the third inning, McKinley stole home on a double steal attempt, becoming the first Tiger softballer to swipe home since Lelani Bernardino, against Mississippi Valley State, on Mar. 30, 2010.
Walking In Memphis
In just eleven games played, Kailey Kassner has walked nine times, second C-USA. Kassner has reached base successfully in nine of the eleven games and holds a team-leading .531 on-base percentage. Kassner has 44 career walks and is one shy of tying Kara Ross for fourth-place in the record books for walks in a career.