University of Memphis softball begins conference play this weekend. The Tigers will face East Carolina in a three game series Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Tigers (15-12) lost to Belmont Wednesday and are looking to get back to winning ways. Through their first 27 games the Tigers have topped their 12-15 record from this time last year.
The Tigers are 11-6 at home this season, winning their last four in a row at the Tigers Softball Complex. Since the beginning of March, the Tigers are 11-1 when they hold their opponents to less than five runs. The Tigers pitching and defense will have to continue to play well to be successful in conference play.
Last year, the Tigers went 2-1 against ECU. Pitcher Molly Smith started both wins allowing just two runs in 14 innings. In the one loss the Tigers allowed eight runs.
A look at the opponent
ECU is 16-14 this season, losing four of their last six games. Four players hit above .300. Those players also have a combined 31 home runs this season.
Although the Pirates are batting .275, they are allowing their opponents to bat .320 and their team ERA is 4.95. They have allowed seven runs 11 or more times.
Areas for improvement
The Tigers have struggled to hit the ball in the last five losses, with six hits or less. In the last two losses, the Tigers have allowed 15 and 14 hits respectively. Memphis has only won one game this season when they allow their opponent double digit hits.
In the loss against Texas A&M, the Tigers walked eight batters which led to 15 runs. This is the most walks, the Tigers have allowed all season. After the game, Head Coach Natalie Poole emphasized minimizing walks the rest of the season.
Players to Watch
ECU Catcher Alex Mycek.
Mycek has a batting average of .333. Her on base percentage .485. She gets on base 50 percent of the times. She has 26 RBI 30 games this season. She has also has 10 home runs.
ECU Center Fielder Ciara Ervin
Ervin is effective for the Pirates when batting. She has a batting average of .244 but she has had 22 hits and 25 runs this season. Ervin is also a threat on the base path making eight of nine attempts.
Memphis Centerfielder Lindsay Crowdus
Crowdus has been the Tigers best offensive player this season. She leads the Tigers in average hits, triples and RBI. Crowdus is second in the NCAA for triples. Lindsay has also been effective stealing bases. Each of her eighteen attempts have been successful this season.
First baseman Lindsey Stickrod
Stickrod is on a four game hitting streak and has raised her batting average 64 points. She can help the offense if she continues to improve at the plate.
Brooke Lee gets a jump off second base as the pitch is thrown. She has played in 24 of the Tigers 27 games, starting 21 times.