April 9, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Memphis softball team travels to Houston for a three-game conference series on Saturday and Sunday. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Cougar Softball Stadium and close with a noon contest on Sunday.
Memphis (19-13, 6-5 C-USA) went 4-1 at home last week, including a 2-1 series victory over Marshall. The U of M also swept a doubleheader with perennial NCAA Tournament participant Mississippi Valley State.
Freshman RHP Carly Hummel led the team in the circle, going 3-0 on the week. She struck out a school record 15 batters against MVSU and earned both victories against Marshall, including an eight-inning thriller. Hummel is 11-6 on the season with a 1.76 ERA and a .139 opponent batting average. She has struck out 145 batters in 107.1 innings, which ranks as the third highest season total in school history and nine K's away from moving into second.
The Tigers continue to lead the league in ERA with a 1.58 mark, which ranks eighth nationally, and in opponent batting average with .170. The Tigers have allowed just 10 home runs and 34 total extra base hits. Memphis has a 2.8 strikeout to K ratio and are allowing just 2.22 runs per game. Senior Vanessa Walle (7-5) leads the conference with a 1.19 ERA and 13 earned runs allowed.
At the plate, sophomore outfielder Lelani Bernardino led the team last week with a .500 batting average (7-for-14). She had three extra base hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Walle and senior outfielder Leigh Rowan both hit .375 in the five games last week. Rowan had four RBI and four runs scored. She leads the team with a .340 batting average, 19 RBI and five home runs.
As a team, the Tigers are hitting .226 with 112 runs scored in 32 games (3.5 average). Memphis has 18 home runs and is 34 for 39 in stolen bases.
Houston (20-19, 5-7 C-USA) enters the series after sweeping a doubleheader with Prairie View A&M by a combined score of 30-0. The Cougars had lost five-straight prior to the two wins.
The Tigers swept the conference series with Houston in Memphis last year. The Cougars have been swept in two conference series this season, but are 5-1 in conference games at home. Houston has an 8-5 all-time advantage over Memphis in the all-time series.
The Cougars are hitting .255 as a team with 31 home runs and 171 runs scored. Junior Angela Spittler leads the team with a .328 batting average and has 13 RBI and 14 runs scored. Freshman Brooke Lathan leads the team in home runs with 10 and has 21 RBI and a .261 average.
In the circle, Houston has a 3.12 team ERA with 274 strikeouts and 141 walks in 260.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .210 off of the Cougars' pitchers. Junior Amanda Crabtree leads the squad with a 2.94 ERA and is 7-9 on the season with 125 K's in 102.1 innings. Freshman Bailey Watts leads the team in wins with a 9-7 record and has a 3.02 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 106.2 innings.
History: Memphis vs. Houston
Houston holds a 8-5 all-time advantage over the Tigers. Last year, Memphis swept the three-game series in Memphis for the school's first series sweep of the Cougars. The Tigers are 1-5 all-time in Houston and were swept in three games in the last meeting at the Cougar Softball Stadium in 2008 when Houston was ranked No. 11 in the country.
All three games of the series with Houston can be followed live with live stats provided by GameTracker. A live chat will also be available. Streaming video is also available to Memphis All-Access subscribers. Links to the live broadcasts can be found on the softball schedule page at GoTigersGo.com.
Last Time vs. Houston
The Tigers swept a three-game series in Memphis. It was then the first time for the Cougars since being swept in three straight by Louisville in 2005. The Tigers held Houston to just nine hits in the three games, including a one-hitter in eight innings in game three. Catcher Nikki Moreno became the first Memphis player to earn C-USA hitter of the week following the sweep. Moreno went 5-for-7 in the three games with five RBI and two runs scored. Jessica Phillips had a bases loaded walk-off single in the eighth inning of game three to give the Tigers a 3-2 win and both Vanessa Walle and Janelle Valle earned victories in the series.
Memphis swept a midweek doubleheader with Mississippi Valley State on March 30 at home winning 4-1 and 5-1. MVSU has won the SWAC championship the past six years and received the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Carly Hummel threw a two-hitter in game one for a 4-1 victory. She struck out a school record 15 batters in the game. Hummel struck out the side in four of the seven innings. In game two, Vanessa Walle and Lauren Carley teamed up for a 5-1 victory. Memphis scored five runs on 11 hits with Leigh Rowan leading the team with a 3-for-3 performance and three RBI. Rowan hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and also doubled in the game. Both runs given up by Memphis in the doubleheader were unearned.
The Tigers then one its first ever series with Marshall, 2-1. Memphis took game one, 5-4, on a seventh inning walk off pinch hit single by Kailey Kassner. Marshall then one game two after scoring three unearned runs on four Memphis errors in the first two innings of a 4-2 Tiger loss. In game three, Memphis again used a walk-off hit to win, this time a two-out solo home run by Jessica Phillips in the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory.
Memphis will return home to host seven games next week. The Tigers will host midweek doubleheaders with Alabama State and Middle Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday, April 14-15, and then host a three-game conference series with Southern Miss on Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18.
Tiger Pitching Ranks Eighth in Nation
The Memphis pitching staff ranks eighth in the nation in ERA through games on April 4 with a 1.58 mark. Senior Vanessa Walle ranks 17th nationally in ERA (1.19) and freshman Carly Hummel ranks 43rd (1.76). Hummel also ranks sixth nationally in hits allowed per seven innings (3.26).
Tigers Against Instate Opponents
After sweeping Belmont at home, Memphis is now 22-10 all-time against opponents from the state of Tennessee and 11-3 all-time against those schools at home. Memphis will play a total of three schools from Tennessee this season, with all but one coming as midweek doubleheaders at home. The Tigers will host Belmont and Middle Tennessee and play on the road at UT Martin in 2010.
Shedding the Sophomore Jinx
Lelani Bernardino led the Tigers in week eight with a .500 batting average (7-for-14) and had three extra base hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Bernardino had two multi-hit games in the week and is tied for the team lead in the category with Leigh Rowan with eight. Bernardino is hitting .295 on the season with nine RBI, 16 runs scored and six doubles.
Houston has already been swept twice this year in conference play, losing on the road in three games to UCF and most recently UAB. However, the Cougars are 5-1 at home in C-USA games, sweeping three games with Southern Miss and winning two of three against UTEP.
The Cougars have one player on their roster from the state of Tennessee. Junior pitcher Baillie Lott is from Brentwood, Tenn., and prepped at Brentwood HS.
Houston has played nine teams ranked in the top 25 and are 3-6 in those games. The Cougars have wins over then No. 14 Ohio State (1-0), then No. 16 Louisiana Lafayette (2-1) and most recently then No. 9 Georgia Tech (2-1).
The Cougars are 4-6 in its last 10 games.