Tiger Softball Opens Fall Schedule at Home with Alcorn State
Oct. 1, 2009
MEMPHIS - The University of Memphis softball team will open up its fall exhibition schedule on Saturday with a doubleheader against Alcorn State beginning at 2 p.m. at the Tiger Softball Complex. Admission to the games is free.
The Tigers, who opened fall team workouts on Tuesday, will play six home exhibition games during the first three weeks of October. Memphis is also scheduled to play Mississippi Valley State, Western Kentucky, Union (Tenn.) and Northwest Mississippi Community College.
"Four of our games this year in the fall are against Division I opponents, and that is kind of new for us," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "I think it's going to help us get a realistic view of where we are at. Sometimes when you don't play Division I opponents, you don't really see what you need to see out of your team. You want them to have a tough challenge."
Alcorn State finished the 2009 season 22-24 and 8-9 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
"With only four team practices under our belt when we go in, I think it will be good to see who's a gamer and who's not," Thees said. "I think that's really what this weekend is going to tell for us because I know Alcorn State has been out there as a team practicing. This is the end of their fall season as it's the beginning of ours. I'm really excited to see who steps up."
No stranger to the Memphis softball program, the two teams have played six regular season games in the last three years with the Tigers winning all six. The last meeting between the two schools came in the season home opener last year on February 14, 2009, with Memphis winning 6-2 and 10-2. The Tigers have a perfect 18-0 regular season record against teams from the SWAC.
Twelve letterwinners return from the 2009 spring season for the Tigers, who are joined by seven newcomers. The 2009 squad finished the season ninth in Conference USA with a 7-17 record and were 22-30 overall.
Memphis is replacing five seniors from the 2009 season who helped start the Tiger softball program as freshmen during the inaugural season in 2006. The departure leaves four of eight position starting jobs open to competition in the fall.
"We have a lot of work to do," Thees said. "You can't just replace the experience that those kids had because they started the program and had to play right away. These girls coming in see that there's opportunity, and when they get their chance, they are going to make the most of it."
Likely to receive the starting pitching assignments this weekend are returning starters senior Vanessa Walle and junior Janelle Valle. The two earned 16 of the Tigers' 22 wins in the circle last year.
"We have our top two pitchers from last year returning who have gained experience and physical maturity as well," Thees said. "We're looking for consistency. That's the term I use with the pitching staff everyday I'm out there working with them. We want a consistent effort."
Both games against Alcorn State can be followed live through CBS College Sports GameTracker. A link to the live stats can be found at GoTigersGo.com.
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