Coming off of their most lopsided victory of the season, the Tigers (8-13) will look to keep their momentum going in a weekend series in Houston against the Cougars (13-8).
The Tigers faced Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday and won by a margin of 14-0. They were once again led by outfielder Tyler Webb, who scored three runs and had four RBIs. Redshirt freshman Nick Vaage also had a productive outing, recording two hits and three RBIs. Danny Denz started for the Tigers and pitched four scoreless innings while striking out eight batters.
This series will open conference play for both the Tigers and the Cougars. It will give the Tigers an opportunity to start getting some quality wins and help them to get ahead in conference play.
A look at the opponent
The Cougars are currently on a five-game winning streak and will also be looking to continue that streak in conference play.
In their five-game stretch, they have allowed only eight runs. The Cougars have been relying heavily on their pitching during their winning streak, thanks to the efforts of players like Aaron Fletcher. Their staff combined to pitch a 1-0 shutout against New Mexico.
What to watch
The Tigers will look to once again start the game fast and put the Cougars into a hole. If they can get the Cougars’ pitchers off balance, it will give the Tigers the advantage.
The Tigers will be coming off three days of rest, so look for them to come out looking well rested and sharp Friday. On the other hand, the Cougars will only have two days of rest, but they will be at home for the series.
Luckily for the Tigers, the Cougars have not fared well against good competition this year. In their three games against ranked opponents this year, they are 0-3. In those three games, the combined score is 26-8. The Tigers have fared much better against ranked opponents this year, losing by only one run to Auburn and Ole Miss.
Players to watch
Memphis outfielder Colton Neel
Neel has been hot over the last three games, gathering seven hits, 11 runs and two RBIs. Neel is a very versatile player who can pitch in a bind, and he is also left handed. He will look to stay hot against the Cougars’ pitchers and could end up being an X-factor in this series.
Memphis first baseman Kyle Ouellette
Behind Tyler Webb, Ouellette has been the most consistent batter for the Tigers this season. He is first on the team in RBIs, tied for first in home runs and second in batting average. The junior first baseman will look to help Webb and Neel neutralize the Cougars’ pitchers this weekend.
Houston infielder Joe Davis
Davis is a junior infielder, and he is definitely the most dangerous player for the Cougars. He was voted a preseason third-team All-American and was a second-team all-conference player in 2017. He leads the Cougars in batting average, hits and slugging percentage this season.
Colton Neel runs towards first base. The Cordova, Tennessee, native played in 57 games for the Tigers during his sophomore campaign
Nick Vaage records a hit against University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Minnesota native played in 26 games for the Tigers during his freshman season