Another weekend means another tournament has waited for the Memphis Softball team.
The Tigers (11-8) are prepared for another four games over the weekend to keep the excitement going. Memphis pulled four wins last weekend in impressive fashion and coach Natalie Poole said she saw more confidence on the team following the successful tournament.
"Their energy was so good," Poole said. "They were really just giving a lot to the game. I think for them it was nice to be able to experience a reward to that."
Memphis won its last four games in the Blues City Classic and their fifth game was canceled due to weather. The Tigers swept the weekend and returned the program to an above .500 winning percentage.
Outfielder Gracie Morton has helped the Tigers produce throughout the season. Morton has entered the weekend with a .413 batting average, 19 RBIs, 26 hits and 12 runs. Morton said the team got the little things down better and it took effect.
"It was nice to see the fight I knew we had kind of come out," Morton said. "I definitely feel like we are being more aggressive in general."
Memphis is scheduled to play four games in three days against four different programs. Two days after the tournament, the Tigers are set up to host a double header on Tuesday.
Poole said her focus is making sure the team shows up ready to play against a new group of opponents.
"I think that we are in a pretty good place," Poole said. "I think that we are feeling better about who we are as a team."
The Tigers have set their longest win-streak of the season and are tested first against Western Carolina University. The Catamounts (2-7) lost their last six games and have been shut out twice in this season.
WCU has scored 7 runs and allowed 28 runs in their last five games. After their last five games, Western Carolina has averaged 1.4 runs per game. Memphis has averaged 9.5 runs over the last four games and are 10-0 when scoring more than 6 runs in a games.
Later in the day, Indiana State (8-10) is expected to face Memphis. The Sycamores are on a three-game win streak after beating UMBC, SIU Edwardsville and Lipscomb. ISU has kept most of their victories close, but their win over UMBC was a 21-0 shutout in five innings. It was the Sycamores' highest run total all season.
The Tigers have not scored more than 15 runs in a game this season. Although, Memphis has reached 15 runs twice this season, once against Hawai'i and Northern Illinois.
Memphis plays one game for the day, and it is against Butler. The Bulldogs (12-4), are also on a three-game win streak, but have achieved the highest win percentage of any team in the tournament (.750).
All four losses Butler suffered were by one run each. Additionally, the Bulldogs have finished all three of their previous tournaments with winning records. The Tigers have their work cut out for them but a great game can do wonders.
Memphis finishes the weekend after they play the Belmont Bruins. The Bruins (2-11) are stuck on four-game losing streak, four of their season's losses were scoreless performances. Belmont has not had many breaks, and they have burden of carrying the lowest win percentage in the tournament at .154.
The Bruins have scored 35 runs and allowed 73 runs in 13 games. Memphis can finish the weekend well if they play together and focused.
Shortstop Sam Ibison has been another producer having earned a .406 batting average, seven RBIs, 28 hits and 18 runs. Ibison said she wants four wins from the weekend and the team to trust themselves.
When the weekend is finished the Tigers still have unfinished work. Memphis is scheduled to play their first double header of the season against Youngstown State University.
The Penguins (6-3) accomplished a three-game winning streak and they have all been shutouts. Youngstown State has outscored their last three opponents 19-0. The Penguins have scored 59 runs in their nine games and Memphis has twice as many games.
Poole said the team has turned their attention in practice to working on things to work on their issues and stay consistent.
"For us, it is just all about earning each week," Poole said, "We have to create that success again. It is a whole set of different opponents with different goals."
If the Tigers have finished the next six games with at least two wins they will remain above .500. If Memphis won five of their six their record will be 16-9 with a win percentage above .600.