Memphis Looks to Close Out C-USA First Half on Positive Note
April 4, 2008
For Immediate Release
MEMPHIS - The University of Memphis will close out the first half of the Conference USA schedule by hosting a three-game series with UTEP on Saturday and Sunday at the Tiger Softball Complex. The two teams will play a doubleheader at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and close out the series on Sunday at noon.
The Tigers (16-19) enter the match-up looking to snap a program long eight-game losing streak and win its first league game of the season after starting 0-8 in C-USA play. UTEP is fifth in the conference standing with a 4-5 league mark and are 23-14 overall. The Miners are 4-8 in their last 12 games after starting the season 19-7.
The U of M is 3-2 all-time against the Miners and swept a two-game series against UTEP at home in its inaugural season in 2006. Last year Memphis won one of three games in El Paso, Texas. The U of M leads the series score in the five games with a 29-25 advantage. Last season the Tigers began conference play at UTEP and won the first game of the series before dropping the final two games. Miner's sophomore pitcher Stacie Townsend won both games for UTEP.
Last week, Memphis was swept in a three-game league series at Houston. The Cougars outscored the Tigers 18-1 in the series, and Houston ace Angel Shamblin pitched a five-inning perfect game to open play. Shamblin and Laurie Wagner of Houston were the C-USA Pitcher and Player of the Week after the sweep. The Tigers then lost both games of a midweek doubleheader at Tennessee State on Wednesday.
During its eight-game slump, Memphis is hitting .188 with 11 runs scored and a .269 on-base percentage. The U of M pitching staff has allowed 44 runs in 45 innings with 26 strikeouts and 41 walks for a 5.91 ERA. Opponents are sporting a 0.94 ERA and a .318 batting average during the stretch.
The Tigers rank 26th nationally and third in the conference with a 0.91 home runs per game average. The team also ranks 69th in slugging with a .415 percentage and 85th in runs per game (4.42). Junior Leila Dolfo ranks 57th in home runs per game (0.24), 82nd in slugging (.681), 79th in on base percentage (0.48) and leads the conference with a 0.7 walks per game average to rank 29th. Junior Leandra Hines leads the conference and ranks 49th with a sacrifice hits per game average of 0.25.
After opening C-USA play with a three-game sweep of UAB in El Paso, UTEP has dropped five of the its last six conference games. The Miners were swept in three games at Tulsa and lost two of three at home against Marshall.
UTEP finished last in the conference last season with a 7-16 league mark and were 28-23 overall. Sophomore outfielder Ashley Ellis was selected to the preseason all-conference team.
With an RPI ranked 113th, the Miners are ranked nationally 33rd in batting average (0.300), 11th in scoring per game (5.86), 22nd in home runs per game (0.95), fifth in doubles per game (1.92) and 16th in slugging percentage (0.485). Townsend and senior Nichole Tunget lead the conference in strikeouts per seven innings. Tunget is averaging 9.9 K's to rank 17th and Townsend averages 8.0 to rank 53rd. Junior Amber Bennett leads the conference in runs per game with a 0.94 average to rank 25th nationally.
All three games between Memphis and UTEP can be followed live through GameTracker. Live streaming video is also available for all three games through the subscription based Memphis All-Access. Audio is available on All-Access for Sunday's game with Dan O'Brien calling the play-by-play. Links to the live content can be found at GoTigersGo.com.
Saturday's doubleheader is Free Group Day. Groups of 10 or more who call ahead of time get in free of charge. The final game is Super Senior Sunday with all senior citizens over 55 receiving $2 admission. Regular admission is $5 for adults 13 and up and $3 for senior citizens and youth ages 6-12. Children 5 and under and U of M students with their ID card get in free. Tickets can be purchased at the game or by calling (901) 678-2331 or (888) 867-UofM.
Next week, the Tigers will play a mid-week doubleheader at UT Martin on Wednesday, April 9, before coming home for a three-game conference series with Southern Miss on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13.