Southern Miss Hosts Weekend Series with Lady Tigers
March 30, 2007
For Immediate Release
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The slate has been wiped clean for the University of Memphis softball team. With 31 games in the book and 29 left in the regular season, the Lady Tigers have started their second half of the season with a perfect 1-0 record.
The U of M will look to continue the perfection as the team battles conference rival Southern Miss in a three-game series beginning Saturday at the Southern Miss Softball Complex. The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday and close the series with a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.
The Conference USA match-up will pit two teams looking to distance itself from the cellar of the league standings. Memphis (20-11, 2-4 C-USA) and Southern Miss (10-24, 1-5) are eighth and ninth respectively in the nine team conference with the top six teams moving on to the conference tournament. But plenty of time still remains for both clubs to turn things around with three-fourth of the 24-game conference schedule still remaining.
In only its second season of existence, the Lady Tigers have three more victories through 31 games than the previous year. The team's .645 winning percentage is fourth in the conference behind Houston, East Carolina and UTEP. But Memphis is still looking for a conference series win after taking only one of three games against UTEP and Houston.
Behind the arms of senior aces Jenna Kubesch (12-5) and Nicki Johnson (8-6), the U of M will attempt to bring home a series victory this weekend. Memphis pitching has a combined ERA of 2.87 compared to the Golden Eagles, whose 6.25 ERA is the highest in the conference.
Both Kubesch and Johnson are coming off superb pitching performances in a midweek home doubleheader sweep of Tennessee-Martin. Kubesch set a new program record with 12 strikeouts against the Skyhawks and earned her 12th victory, which ranks fifth in the conference. Johnson followed with her most complete performance of the year, allowing only two hits to UT-Martin on six strikeouts and one unearned run in a 2-1 win.
On the offensive side, the hottest hitter for Memphis in the past six games has been sophomore catcher Kimmi Hayden. After having only eight hits in 18 games, Hayden has broken out of her slump in conference play, hitting .438 in league competition with seven hits, four RBI and two home runs. Hayden is hitting .471 in the past six games.
Senior first baseman Kara Ross and sophomore left fielder Leandra Hines are also swinging big sticks. Ross leads the team in batting average (.322), RBI (22), winning RBI (4), multi-hit games (9) and multi-RBI games (5). She is hitting .300 with five RBI in the past six games. Hines is fourth in the conference in sac bunts with nine and is hitting .291 on the season primarily in the two hole. She is hitting .308 in the last six games with a .438 on-base percentage.
Last season, Memphis hosted Southern Miss and won two in the three-game series. The Lady Tigers shutout the Golden Eagles, 4-0, in both games of the opening doubleheader before falling 2-1 in 10 innings in the final contest.
This weekend's three-game series can be followed live on the Internet. Live stats are available through Gametracker, while a live audio broadcast is available through Southern Miss' team stream on Yahoo. Links to the live broadcasts can be found on GoTigersGo.com. The Yahoo audio broadcasts require a subscription with packages starting at $4.95 per month.