March 19, 2010
Weekly Game Notes
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis softball team returns to Memphis after 11 games on the road to host a three-game series with UTEP on Saturday and Sunday. The series opens the C-USA home schedule for the U of M at the Tiger Softball Complex. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and close with a noon contest on Sunday.
Memphis (11-8, 1-1) leads the league in ERA and opponent batting average and has won all but one game this season when scoring at least two runs. The Tigers are 5-5 in their last 10 games, with the last four losses coming by one run. The U of M is 3-6 in one-run games this season.
UTEP (20-8, 3-0) swept its conference opener last week at home against Marshall and leads C-USA in wins. Senior Stacie Townsend leads the league with 185 strikeouts in 119.2 innings of work and is 16-5 on the season. She has also been one of the top offensive threats for the Miners, hitting .333 with seven home runs and 21 RBI.
Single day tickets can be purchased at the gate and are $5 for adults 13 and up and $3 for senior citizens and youth ages 6-12. Children five and under and U of M Students with their ID are free.
History: Memphis vs. UTEP
Memphis holds a 7-4 advantage all-time against UTEP. The Tigers have won four of the last six meetings and are 5-0 all-time against the Miners at home. Last year, Memphis lost two out of three to UTEP in El Paso, Texas, with the two teams combining for 60 runs.
All three games of the series against UTEP can be followed live through GameTracker. The games can also be watched live by subscription on Memphis All-Access. Links to the live broadcasts can be found on the softball schedule page at GoTigersGo.com.
Memphis went 2-2 for the week with a pair of doubleheader splits at North Florida and UCF. After taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning in game one against UNF, the Osprey battled back and scored a run in each of the final three innings to earn the 3-2 victory. It was the first time Memphis had lost a game this season in which it had scored at least two runs. In game two, senior Vanessa Walle put on a one-person show with a career high five RBI and a career best seven strikeouts. Walle became the third Memphis player to hit a grand slam, with a shot to left in the third inning. She held UNF to one unearned run on three hits. Walle had four hits in the doubleheader.
Against UCF, Walle and Lauren Carley combined for a 1-0 shutout in the C-USA opener. Carley earned her first career victory in relief as Maddie McKinley knocked in the game winning run in the sixth inning. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two, but fell 2-1 after UCF scored two runs on a double in the third inning. Nine of the 14 games in the series between Memphis and UCF have been decided by a run.
The Tigers will travel to St. Louis, Mo., for a midweek doubleheader against former Conference USA opponent Saint Louis on Tuesday, March 23. Memphis will then travel to play a three-game league series at Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., on March 27-28.
One Person Show
Vanessa Walle put on a one person show in a 7-1 victory over North Florida. The senior struck out a career seven batters in the circle and knocked in a career best five RBI at the plate. Walle hit a grand slam in the third inning to give the Tigers a 4-0 cushion and helped her cruise to her fourth victory of the season. The grand slam is just the third in school history and first since Melissa Nance hit one against Alcorn State on April 15, 2008.
Walle went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two starts last week. She combined with Lauren Carley for a 1-0 shutout over UCF in the C-USA opener. She also hit .333 in 12 at bats.
Maddie McKinley is heating up at the plate and is helped by a five-game hitting streak, which ties a career long. McKinley is second on the team with a .328 average and has nine RBI and 10 runs scored. The junior third baseman hit .385 in four games against North Florida and UCF and knocked in the game-winning run in a 1-0 victory over the Knights.
Two Runs = Win 91% of the Time
So far this season, when the Tigers score at least two runs they walk away with the victory 91 percent of the time. Seven of Memphis' eight losses have come when the team has scored one run or less. The only game Memphis did not win after scoring two runs was a 3-2 loss at North Florida. The U of M is 3-6 in one-run games this season.
Pitchers Leading the Way
The Tigers as a team lead the league five weeks into the season in ERA by nearly 50 points with a 1.44 mark and in opposing batting average with a .161 average. Senior Vanessa Walle leads C-USA this season in ERA (1.11), fewest earned runs allowed (8) and is tied for first in fewest runs allowed (15), fewest doubles allowed (2) and fewest triples allowed (0).
Freshman Carly Hummel is right behind her with a 1.40 ERA, which is third in the league. She leads the league in opposing bat avg (.122) and is tied for the lead in fewest runs allowed (15) and fewest triples allowed (0).
UTEP returns five of nine starters, all three pitchers and nine of 15 letterwinners from a team that went 27-29-1 last season and 8-15-1 (7th) in C-USA.
The Miners (20-8, 3-0) have wins against two top 25 programs this season with a 3-2 victory over then No. 25 Baylor and a 1-0 win over then No. 22 Fresno State.
UTEP leads the league offensively in runs scored (147), RBI (134) and strikeouts (175). In the circle, the Miners lead the league in batters struck out (242) and wins (20).
Senior Stacie Townsend (16-5) leads the league in strikeouts (185) and wins (16) and is in the top five offensively in slugging pct (.778), on base pct (.549), runs (26), RBI (21), home runs (7) and walks (33).
Junior Camilla Carrera is third in the league with a .417 batting average and leads the team in RBI with 27. She also has 25 runs scored.