Softball Opens Fall Schedule at UT Martin Classic
Sept. 23, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis softball team begins its eight game fall schedule with three games in the UT Martin Fall Softball Classic in Martin, Tenn., on Saturday.
The Tigers open the tournament against Union University at 11 a.m. on Field #4 at the Martin Recreational Softball Complex. Memphis will then play Chattanooga State on Field #4 at 1 p.m. and Freed-Hardeman at 5 p.m. on Field #2.
Head coach Natalie Poole begins her first season at Memphis after taking over the program following successful stops at McNeese State and Georgia Southern. This week marked the first full team practices for the squad that earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament last season for the first time.
"It's definitely been intense," Poole said. "It's been nice to boost the intensity up in practice. I think people are practicing hard and trying new things. There's definitely not a question when it comes to hustle or the want to do well, so that's exciting for me."
Memphis returns five of 10 starters and 14 letterwinners from a team that finished 36-14 in 2011 and finished fourth in Conference USA. The Tigers also return three of four pitchers from a staff that finished third in C-USA with a 1.81 ERA. Joining the group are six newcomers, including two junior college transfers, including Laura Curtis who played two years at Chattanooga State.
"Basically our goal is to get out there and see what we've got," Poole said. "We do have some specific goals we have set to try and reach in the eight games we play. So we'll be working on that list as well as making sure we hustle, set the pace of the game, recover if we make mistakes, have quality at bats and make sure we do everything we can to control the things we can control. We may not be able to control the outcome of the game but we definitely want to control our input."
Following the tournament, the Tigers will play the remaining five games on their fall exhibition schedule in the Memphis area. The U of M will play the National Pro Fastpitch all-star team on Friday, September 30 at 6 p.m. at First Tennessee Fields in Cordova. The game marks the beginning of the 2011 NPF Back to School Tour that plays 20 games in 18 cities.
Players participating on the 2011 NPF Back to School Tour include Olympic medalists Andrea Duran, Kelly Kretschman, Caitlin Lowe; former Canadian Olympic Team member Caitlin Lever; former Canadian Olympic Team members and NCAA Champions Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling; 2010 NPF Pitcher of the Year, Lisa Norris; 2011 All NPF Team Members Ashley Charters, Bianca Mejia, Megan Wiggins, Brittany McKinney, and Sam Marder; and NPF Rookie of the Year, Alisa Goler.
Memphis will then host a pair of doubleheaders at the Tiger Softball Complex in October. The Tigers will play a pair with Mississippi Valley State on Friday, October 7, at 5 and 7 p.m. and against cross-town Christian Brothers University on Sunday, October 9, at 2 and 4 p.m.