Softball Hosts Marshall in Final Home Series
April 28, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis softball team will again host a critical C-USA match-up this weekend, as the Lady Tigers will try to hold on to sixth place in the league standings when they entertain the Thundering Herd of Marshall in a three-game series Saturday and Sunday at Greenbrook Park.
The series will mark the final home games of the season for Memphis, as it finishes the regular season at Houston next weekend. The games will be the final contests of the regular season for Marshall, as it has the final week of the campaign as its off weekend.
Marshall comes in to the weekend in third place in Conference USA, with a 13-8 league mark, while sporting a 29-21 overall record. The Thundering Herd is 5-1 in its last six games, with the lone loss coming to Tulsa in the final game of a C-USA series last weekend.
The match-up will most likely come down to a battle between a stingy Memphis pitching staff, that boasts a 1.93 team ERA and a .212 opposing batting average, and a high-powered Marshall offense, which has been shut out just twice this season.
Marshall is third in Conference USA with a .285 batting average and is led at the plate by C-USA Preseason Player of the Year and All-American candidate Rachel Folden. The sophomore leads the team in batting average (.363) homeruns (17) and RBI (50), with the homer and RBI totals leading C-USA, while her batting average ranks fifth in the league.
The U of M will counter with a pair of hurlers, in Jenna Kubesch and Nicki Johnson, who have been extremely tough of late. Kubesch has lowered her team-leading ERA to 1.65, which is good enough for third in the league, while Johnson has slashed her ERA to 1.77 to move into the fifth spot in the conference rankings.
On offense, Memphis will look to continue a hot streak, after it posted 14 runs in the final two games of last weekend's East Carolina series and put up 21 hits over the three-game set.
Cara Stiles continues to lead the team with a .382 average, but a number of additional Lady Tigers, including Lindsey Pridgen, Kara Ross and Kimmi Hayden have stepped up recently, as each of the aforementioned three blasted homeruns last weekend.
The U of M bats will face a Marshall pitching staff that has a combined ERA of 3.36, and has just two hurlers, junior Abigail Harter and senior Veronica Ralston with more than one start on the year. Harter is 13-9 with a 2.66 ERA in 22 starts, while Ralston is 13-12 with a 3.99 ERA in 27 starts.
Action between the Thundering Herd and Lady Tigers is scheduled to get underway with a double-header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday before a single game at 12 p.m. on Sunday. All three games of the series can be heard on the U of M's campus radio station, WUMR 91.7 with Jeff Brightwell on the call.