The Memphis Tigers' fast start continued through their recent 9 game stretch, which included matchups against Alabama A&M, Nicholls State, Ole Miss, Samford and Arkansas State.
The latter half began a 4-game road stretch for the Tigers, their first of the season. The Tigers' batters showed out as the team scored 8 or more runs in all but one game. That showing bolstered the team's confidence compared to a few weeks ago
“It’s big right now, we beat Samford and we went to Birmingham and swept them on the road," said sophomore infielder Logan Kohler. “We've got a good squad and we know we can beat anyone in the country.”
Although the pitching suffered a setback in one series, they had a great two weeks of baseball as well. The starters and bullpen had a strong showing against Alabama A&M and Samford, giving up three runs in three of the four games they played.
Memphis pushed their record to 10-4 after finishing two weeks of baseball on a 6-2 stretch. Two players, Kohler and Austin Baskin, were awarded AAC Player of the Week. Although they won the award, everyone was seeing the ball well.
“I had a good weekend and was seeing the ball good," Kohler said. "It wasn’t just me, everyone had a good weekend. Even the guys who came off the bench had a good week."
Vs Alabama A&M March 1st, 5-3 Win
The Tigers opened the 9-game stretch against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs. Memphis scored off two Bulldog errors in the first inning. After scoring in the third inning, Alabama A&M got two back off Landon Gartman in the fourth inning. Memphis would come back and score off a double by right fielder Blake Daniels and finish the scoring output of a wild pitch. After a walk and pair of errors leading to a run being scored, the Tigers escaped a rally and Blake Wimberley finished the game by striking out three batters in the ninth to win it 5-3.
Vs Nicholls State March 4th, 8-14 Loss
The Tigers opened series play against the Nicholls State Colonels. Memphis drew first blood with Austin Baskin's solo home run to start the day. The Colonels would answer by plating 1 to tie in the first. Offense was the theme of the day, as the Tigers' Zach Wilson had a big day, hitting a solo home run and batting a double that plated a man to make it 4-1. Memphis scored again in the top of the fifth, however the Colonels would answer with six runs, knocking starter Connor Shamblin out and attacking Jacob Gilmore. The Tigers tied the game in the sixth, but the home team was too much on this day. Nicholls' seventh inning proved to be the difference as a three run home run was the nail in the coffin. The Colonels added some insurance runs and Cade Evans got the save to give the Tigers the loss, 8-14.
Vs Nicholls State March 5th, 9-14 Loss
Memphis was looking to rebound after an opening defeat against the Colonels. Just like last game between the two teams, offense was the theme. Nicholls attacked Dalton Fowler out of the gate, scoring 4 runs in the first inning. Fowler recovered and pitched well, lasting 4.2 innings and giving up one more run before leaving the mound. The Colonels were not done and, in the sixth, the home team would plate three more making the game 8-0. Memphis fought back as Zach Wilson would continue his hot stretch with a three-run home run, and a homer by Blake Daniels made it a four-run game. Nicholls answered, effectively ending the game with another four-run inning making it 12-4. The Tigers showed their never quit attitude by plating five more runs, including AAC Honor Roll Player of the Week Logan Kohler two-run home run. The Colonels would win, however by a score of 14-9.
Vs Nicholls State March 6th, 9-6 Win
Memphis looked to avoid the sweep against Nicholls, but got off to an uncertain start. After the Colonels got out to a hot start in the first, Memphis once again had to play from behind down 5-0 heading into the fourth inning. In the fifth, the Tigers turned the momentum thanks to a two-run homer, curtesy of Kohler, to make it a 5-2 ball game. In the sixth, Memphis' batters got hot. Kohler started the scoring by grounding out and sending a run home, Jacob Compton followed that off when he scored off a wild pitch. Austin Baskin reached home off a Colonels error, and Chris Swanberg would finish the scoring with a two-run homer to give Memphis the lead for good. Swanberg and Ian Bibiloni added insurance in the eight and Kendrick finished the game to avoid the sweep 9-6.
@ #2 Ole Miss March 8th, Postponed
Due to inclement weather, the game between the number two team in the country is reschedule for a different day. The Tigers and Rebels will play March 22nd and March 23rd. Memphis will be the home team the first game, then Ole Miss will be the host for the next game.
@ Samford (DH) March 11th, 12-3 Win
If you enjoy long extra baseball this was the game for you, as Memphis and Samford opened the series with extra innings. Conor Shamblin got the start and went 5 innings, 2 hits, no runs, and had 5 strikeouts on the day. Memphis gave him a run on a Chirs Swamberg run scoring groundout. In the seventh Zack Wilson hit a two-out double that plated another run for the Tigers. The Bulldogs finally broke through Memphis pitching to tie the game 2-2 after eight innings. Samford almost finished the game on a single by Andrew Bennett, but short stop Ben Brooks made a play on the ball and held the runner to third. Chase Kessinger escaped the ninth inning and sent the game to extras. Memphis took over the tenth. The offense sent 16 men to the plate thanks to a stretch of 12 Tigers reaching base with one out. The highlight of the inning was Taylor Howell’s base clearing double that made it 12-3 and that was the final score for game one.
@ Samford (DH) March 11th/March 13th, 8-5 Win
After a good start to the series, the Tigers quickly took the field again before the storm hit. Memphis once again got the day started, but the Bulldogs answered off Dalton Fowler. Walks was the theme in the first inning as Fowler allowed five men to get on base and gave up one hit that made it a 3-1 ballgame. Ben Brooks tied it off a two-out, two-run single, then Memphis took a 5-3 lead after the third inning. While Fowler recovered and went a few more innings, the Bulldogs would tie it before play stoppage. Due to the weather the game had to be suspended in the sixth inning. The teams would resume play Sunday and the Tigers were refreshed. The seventh inning was all the Memphis offense needed, plating three runs off a run-scoring ground out by Braden Webb, a run-producing double by Zach Wilson, and a sacrifice fly by Ben Brooks to make it 8-5. The Memphis defense prevented another run for three innings.
@ Samford March 13th, 14-3 Win
Looking for the sweep and push their win streak to four in a row, the Tigers and Bulldogs played the finale after finishing the suspended game earlier that day. After two innings, the Memphis offense decided to once again take over. It started with a pair of run scoring singles. They then added to the same inning with a two run single by Taylor Howell and Logan Kohler making it 5-0. The Bulldogs didn’t go quietly, hitting a three-run homer off Gartman to make it 5-3. Gartman however would not be phased as he retired the next 14 batters and gave the Tigers 7 tough innings featuring only 2 hits, 3 runs and 5 strikeouts. The offense had his back with four home runs in the fourth, fifth and six innings which including a two-run homer form Swanberg, another two-run shot by Howell with Kohler behind him hitting a solo one, then Blake Daniels finished the display in the sixth with another two-run homer to make it 12-3. Tigers added insurance and completed the sweep 14-3.
@ Arkansas State March 15th, 9-7 Win
Memphis went to Jonesboro to face the Arkansas State Red Wolves for a one game matchup. Memphis looked to improve their win streak to 5 in a row. Both teams showed off their power in the first two innings. Jacob Compton’s three run homer gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead, then in the second Tanner Booth's home run made it 4-2 after Arkansas State retaliated with a homer of their own. Another two-run homer for the home team made it a tie ballgame. The Red Wolves would score runs in the third making it 7-5 game, but the Memphis bullpen held strong for the rest of the game. The rally started with Braden Webb being walked with bases loaded to score a run, followed by Compton and Kohler each batting runs in to make it a 9-7 game. Daniel Casto and Dalton Kendrick both had to work around filled bases for Memphis to finish this game. After Kendrick got out the eighth inning, he worked around a walk to slam the door on the Red Wolves' chances to make it a 9-7 final.
Jacob Compton completes the double play attempt to end the inning. The Tigers would fall to Nicholls 9-14 on Saturdays game.