The University of Memphis baseball team dropped 2 of 3 games in their opening series to the University of Tennessee. The three game series showed areas where the Tigers need improvement and what they do well.
Attendance was huge:
The series brought in two attendance records with 2,188 fans at Sunday’s game and 4,793 total for the series. There were a lot a Tennessee fans that made the six-hour drive from Knoxville, but Tigers fans poured in for the opening series.
Hitting was good:
Despite being shutout in the last game, the Tigers hit the ball well. In the first game, Memphis fell behind 8-1 before clawing back into the game, scoring four runs before losing 8-5. The Tigers ended the game with more hits and extra base hit than the Volunteers, but they couldn’t produce as many runs.
Memphis won the second game 4-1 while out-hitting Tennessee again. The Tigers scored two of their runs on Zach Warren who is a top 100 prospect and pitched for the USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.
The Tigers were two-hit in the final game, losing 10-0, of the series, but they hit the ball decently well. Memphis only had four batters strike out, and hit the ball hard. The problem was, they hit the ball in the wrong spots and Tennessee played good defense.
Pitching needs improvement:
The Tigers gave up one run in their lone win of the series and 18 runs in the two loses. It is difficult to win baseball games while allowing the other team to have eight and 10 run games.
Errors lead to two runs in the first inning during the first game, but pitchers still gave up six earn runs. The Tigers’ pitchers also struggled to finish innings. The Volunteers scored all eight runs with two outs.
The failure to get the final out leads to big innings like the fourth inning where Tennessee scored five runs.
Game three featured the same problem of getting the final out for the Tigers pitchers. Tennessee scored seven runs in the second inning and six of those runs came with two outs. Nine of the Volunteers’ 10 runs in the game came with two outs.
Memphis’ pitchers have to find ways to finish innings to win games.
Drew Crosby and Jonathan Bowlan:
Crosby started the second game of the series and pitched 6 innings giving up one run on three hits with six strikeouts. Bowlan followed him up with the three inning save giving up 2 hits and no runs.
These two pitchers were the biggest bright spots for Tigers baseball over the weekend. Crosby allowed a first inning solo homer, but shut down the Volunteers after that. He attributed the first inning mishap to “early season jitters” and said he settled down after.
Bowlan has improved his command has velocity from a year ago. Last season his fastball was in the mid 80s, and now it is clocking in the low 90s.
Chris Carrier and Zach Schritenthal:
As two of the top returning players and starters since their freshmen seasons, they are looked at as leaders and tone setters for the Tigers. But they had a bad opening series against Tennessee.
The two went a combined two for 23 with one run and one RBI. Head coach Daron Schoenrock said that their struggles are because they were trying too hard and that they will improve now that the rest of the lineup proved they can carry their weight.
Drew Crosby delivers the ball to the plate during the 4-1 win against Tennessee. The junior lefty won his first career game as a Tiger Saturday.
Jason Santana looks back at the umpire to see the call after a close play at the plate. Santana went 3-9 in the series with 2 RBI.