Memphis Hosts UAB in Critical Final Home Series
April 29, 2011
Saturday's games are part of a tripleheader at the Park Avenue Campus with Memphis baseball hosting a doubleheader with Marshall and the Tiger track and field program hosting their Memphis Tigers Invite. All events on Saturday at the Park Avenue Campus are free to the public.
Prior to Saturday's doubleheader with UAB, Memphis will honor a program high seven seniors. Playing in the final home games of their career are Lauren Carley, Kailey Kassner, Alex Marshall, Maddie McKinley, Heather Mott, Keanah Prestridge and Janelle Valle. First pitch on Saturday is 1 p.m. with the second game beginning 20 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The two teams play the final game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The series with UAB is a critical match-up for both teams who are fighting for bids into the NCAA Tournament. Both teams rank in the top 50 nationally in RPI with Memphis (31-10, 11-6) entering the week at No. 42 and UAB (33-15, 13-5) ranked 34. The Tigers are fifth in the C-USA standings, while the Blazers are tied for second. However, only the two teams are separated by just one game in the loss column.
Memphis will be looking to improve on its program record 10-game winning streak. The last time the Tigers lost came against Tulsa on April 3.
Offensively, Memphis is hitting .254 and rank second in the conference with a .418 slugging percentage. The U of M is also tied for second in home runs in C-USA with 33 and fourth in runs scored with 198.
Leading the way are senior shortstop Heather Mott, senior third baseman Maddie McKinley and junior first baseman Jessica Phillips. All three have an active hitting streak of 10 games or more. Mott leads the team with a .370 batting average, while Phillips is hitting .360 and McKinley is boasts a .317 clip. The trio has combined for 28 home runs, 94 RBI and 86 runs scored. Phillips, the reigning C-USA Hitter of the Week, holds the school record for most home runs in a season with 14 and RBI with 43.
In the circle, Memphis ranks fourth in the conference with a 1.79 ERA and a .195 opponent batting average. The Tigers have thrown a school record for most shutouts in a season with 14. Sophomore RHP Carly Hummel is 18-4 on the year with a 1.26 ERA and 165 strikeouts in 127.1 innings. She set a new season record for shutouts with eight and has thrown a no hitter in three games. Senior LHP Janelle Valle is 5-2 with a 1.73 ERA and senior RHP Lauren Carley is 5-4 with a 2.55 ERA.
As a team, UAB is hitting .255 with 16 home runs and a .341 slugging percentage. The Blazers are led by senior outfielder Caley Walden who is batting .348 with 11 RBI and 27 runs scored. Junior Kayla Orr leads the team in RBI with 23.
Three pitchers see significant time in the circle for UAB, which has a team ERA of 1.61 and 16 shutouts. Freshman LHP Leigh Streetman leads the team with a 1.38 ERA and is 11-6 with 149 strikeouts in 142.0 innings. Sophomore RHP Lauren Webster is 10-3 with a 1.45 ERA and senior RHP Alisha Smith is 9-4 with a 1.89 ERA.
Last year, the Blazers took two of three from Memphis in Birmingham, Ala. In the opener, the Tigers clinched a berth in the C-USA tournament with a 4-1 victory. Lelani Bernardino had two hits and Mott and McKinley drove in runs for Memphis, while Hummel won her 14th game and Valle picked up the save. McKinley drove in two runs in the second game, but Memphis fell, 5-2. The rubbermatch was an epic pitching duel between Hummel and Webster assisted by Amber Torres, ultimately won by UAB, 1-0, in eight innings.
Following the weekend, Memphis will play the final games in regular season with a three-game series at Southern Miss next week in Hattiesburg, Miss.
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