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Tigers softball thrive in Blues City Classic

After spending the first three weekends of the season on the road, the Memphis Tigers (11-8) were finally able to play in front of their home fans.

In this year’s Blues City Classic, the Tigers finished with a perfect 4-0 record to conclude their busy weekend.

Their first games were played on Friday, where they were scheduled to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies and the Northwestern State Lady Demons.

Against the Huskies, the Tigers took home a 15-5 victory, their highest scoring output of the weekend.

They came out of the gate hot, scoring six runs in the first inning and scoring at least two runs per inning before the game ended in the fifth.

As a team, they were incredible at the plate and with 26 at bats finished with 16 hits, compared to the Huskies five.

They had six players who had two hits, but freshman catcher, Brady Rowland led the team with four RBIs.

But the star of the game may have been freshman pitcher, Chyanne Ellet, who had an impressive nine strikeouts in 4 and 2/3 innings pitched.

Tigers’ coach, Natalie Poole commended her young pitcher to the media and said Ellet’s growth has been impressive.

"I think she’s grown a lot quicker than what I anticipated,” Poole said. “I thought that it would take a lot more for her to grow into her own, but I’m seeing some bright moments from her.”

Following the conclusion of the Tigers' first game, they then faced the Lady Demons and pulled out the 9-6 victory.

Despite the high total of runs, it was not an easy victory for the Tigers as they had to overcome a 3-0 deficit heading into the fourth inning. However, the Tigers pulled themselves together and scored an unprecedented seven runs in the seventh inning.

Right fielder Gracie Morton got the team on the scoreboard for the first time after she had an run batted in (RBI) double. Following that, Rowland hit a homerun that brought in three runs. She has scored each of her three homers this season during this weekend’s games.

The Lady Demons managed to score three more runs in the final three innings of the game, but it was not enough to catch up with the Tigers’ reignited offense.

Poole told the media that she was proud of how her team was able to respond to adversity and get back into the game.

"I think sometimes whenever they’re self-led, I think it goes a lot further,” said Poole. “I think that we can preach, and we can talk, but they stayed calm and they were in the huddle making good adjustments and just trying to win the inning.”

In Saturday’s game, the Tigers faced the Western Illinois Leathernecks, where they came away with the 6-1 victory, bringing their win streak to three games.

The Tigers had three players: 2B Alyssa Dean, 1B Kendall Dean and C Rowland each had 2 RBIs on their homeruns. These were the only scores of the game.

On Sunday, they were set to take on the Evansville Lady Aces and the North Alabama Lions.

Even with the slight time delay against Evansville, the Tigers still came out on top, winning the game 8-7, despite a hard-fought effort from the Lady Aces late in the game.

The Tigers managed to get 14 hits with Morton leading the club with three hits and three RBIs.

Before the Tigers could get further into their final game against the Lions, they had faced a lightning delay which ended the Tigers’ weekend early.

Despite the short weekend, Poole liked what she saw out of her team and told the media what would have to happen for the team to have continued success.

"I think that staying focused on the process will help us,” Poole said. “I saw a lot of fight today and good energy. We had a lot of ownership in moments where we felt like we hadn’t been playing well and we have to continue that.”

Following this, the Tigers will have five days until their next series of games, this time participating in the UofM softball tournament.

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