Memphis Opens C-USA Tournament Against Tulsa on Thursday
Go Tigers!
Senior Vanessa Walle had two home runs and pitched a complete-game victory in the Tigers' 6-1 win against Tulsa earlier this year. Memphis will play Tulsa in the opening game of the C-USA Tournament on Thursday.

Go Tigers!
Senior Vanessa Walle had two home runs and pitched a complete-game victory in the Tigers' 6-1 win against Tulsa earlier this year. Memphis will play Tulsa in the opening game of the C-USA Tournament on Thursday.
Go Tigers!

May 10, 2010

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2010 C-USA Softball Championship Central
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Thursday May 13 Tulsa 11 a.m. GameTracker Live Video Live Chat

HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Memphis softball team will open the 2010 Conference USA Championship tournament at Cougar Softball Stadium in Houston, Texas, against second seeded Tulsa on Thursday.

Memphis comes into the single-elimination tournament with a 24-25 record on the season and a seventh place finish in C-USA with an 8-15 league mark. The Tigers look to snap their season-long five game losing streak at the tournament.

If Memphis beats Tulsa, they will play the winner of No. 3 UCF and No. 6 UTEP on Friday at 3 p.m. in the semifinals. The championship game will be on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised live on CBS College Sports.

Tulsa enters the tournament with a 31-20 record and finished 14-6 in C-USA. The Golden Hurricane are the defending C-USA Tournament Champion and were the only team in the league to play in the NCAA Tournament in 2009. Tulsa has appeared in two-straight NCAA tournaments and three times in the last four years.

Memphis is led by a deep pitching staff which currently boasts the second-lowest ERA in the conference with a 1.97 mark. Henderson State junior transfer Lauren Carley leads the Tiger staff with a 1.51 ERA and currently ranks second in the league. Joining Carley in the top 10 for ERA are Carly Hummel (4th-1.78) and Vanessa Walle (7th-2.13). Hummel leads the league in opposing batting average (.150) and is third in the conference in strikeouts (206). Carley is third in the conference for opposing batting average (.159) and first in earned runs allowed (11).

The U of M as a team is hitting .214 with 145 runs scored in 49 games, a .309 slugging percentage, a .304 on base percentage and 22 home runs. The Tigers have stolen 59 bases on the season.

The Tiger bats are led by junior Maddie McKinley and sophomore Lelani Bernardino. McKinley, Memphis' starter at third base, is batting .299 with a .422 slugging percentage, three home runs, 23 runs scored and 24 runs batted in. The Chickamauga, Ga., native currently ranks in a tie for sixth in the league for stolen bases with 19. Bernardino enters play with a .297 batting average. She has 12 RBI and 21 runs scored. The Valencia, Calif., product leads the team with a .386 on-base percentage.

History: Memphis vs. Tulsa
Tulsa leads the all-time series with a 14-2 record against the Tigers. The Golden Hurricane took two-of-three games from Memphis earlier this season. The Tigers had leads in both game one and game three of the series but Tulsa came back to win both games.

Last Time The Tigers and Golden Hurricane Met
Memphis and Tulsa met during the regular season with a three-game series in Tulsa on Mar. 27 and 28. The Golden Hurricane took two-of-three games from the Tigers despite Memphis having the lead heading into the fifth inning in all three games. The U of M lost two of the games in the final two innings. Tulsa hit four home runs off Tiger pitching in three games in windy conditions in Tulsa. Memphis belted four home runs including three home runs in the 6-1 victory in game two.

In game two of the series, utility player Vanessa Walle went 3-for-3 from the plate with two home runs and four RBI. On the mound, the senior allowed one run on six hits after pitching a complete game.

Memphis Continues Streak of C-USA Tourney Appearances
Memphis has qualified for the last four Conference USA tournaments after missing the cut in their inaugural season in 2006.

2007 C-USA Tournament Rematch
In 2007, the Tigers and Golden Hurricane met in the first round of the C-USA Championship. Memphis walked away victorious from the game after upending the three-seed Tulsa, 2-1, on a suicide squeeze in the seventh inning. Jenna Kubesch threw a one-hitter in the game, allowing a home run in the first inning but did not allow a Golden Hurricane base runner for the remainder of the contest.

Tigers Strive for 3-for-4 in First Round
Memphis lost in the first round of the C-USA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2009 with an 11-5 loss to UAB. Prior to last year's the defeat, Memphis had gone two-of-two in first round games at the C-USA Championship with wins of UAB (2008), Tulsa (2007).

Peak Performance
Lauren Carley has hit her stride in the circle as of late. The junior has finally appeared in enough innings to make appearances in the Conference USA rankings. The Henderson State transfer is ranked second in ERA (1.51), third in opposing batting average (.159), first in runs allowed (14), first in earned runs allowed (11) and first in walks allowed (14). The Memphis pitcher came on in relief in game one and game three of the series against East Carolina on May 8 and 9 and pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits. On Sunday, Carley pitched four innings and allowed no hits after relieving starter Vanessa Walle.

Scouting Tulsa
Offensively, the Golden Hurricane rank first in the league in batting average (.284), slugging percentage (.435), on base percentage (.366), RBI (227) and home runs (47).

Tulsa is led by the bat of Lauren Lindsey, a senior outfielder. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native, leads the league with a .384 batting average, .828 slugging percentage, 48 runs scored, 18 home runs and 125 total bases. Lindsay, a three-time All-C-USA selection, is also ranked second in the conference with 48 RBI. Samantha Cobb, a freshman infielder, leads the league with 53 RBI. Cobb is batting .333 with 15 home runs and 58 runs scored.

In the circle, the Golden Hurricane have relied on three pitchers on the season. Kalynn Schrock, a freshman south paw, leads the team in ERA with a 2.60 clip in 91.2 innings pitched. Tulsa also looks to Jackie Lawrence, an All-C-USA first team selection in 2009 who is 14-7 with a 2.62 ERA in 146.2 innings pitched. Jordan Kinard, a 2009 All-C-USA second team pick, is 7-8 with a 3.13 ERA in 105 innings pitched.

As a team, Tulsa ranks fifth in the conference in ERA with a 2.77 mark. The Golden Hurricane pitching staff has struck out 350 batters and walked 157 in 343.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .236 off the staff.

Live Coverage
All Memphis games in the Conference USA Championship can be followed through live stats provided by GameTracker. Additionally, subscription video is also available through All-Access. Links to the live broadcasts can be found on the softball schedule page at GoTigersGo.com.

Last Week
Memphis was swept in their regular-season finale in a three-game series with East Carolina. The Pirates clinched the 2010 C-USA Regular-Season Championship with three shutouts against the Tigers. Memphis scattered 10 hits in three games against East Carolina. In game two of the series, the Pirates' Faith Sutton threw a one-hit shutout against the Tigers. Senior Leigh Rowan led the Tiger bats going 3-for-9 in her final home series at the U of M.

In games one and three the Tigers had bases loaded situations but were unable to bring a run across the plate.

Next Up
A Memphis win against Tulsa means a date with either three-seed UCF or six-seed UTEP on Fri., May 14 at 3 p.m. With the bracket situated as it is for the Tigers, Memphis will not play a game against an opponent they have not defeated already this season until the championship game. Houston and East Carolina were the only conference teams to sweep the Tigers during the regular season. Memphis took two-of-three from UTEP and one-of-two from UCF.

A Memphis loss would signify the end of the season for the Tigers and for seniors Leigh Rowan and Vanessa Walle.

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