The Memphis Tigers opened their season opener with a home stand facing off with the Valparaiso Beacons, the Central Arkansas Bears, and the Brown Bears. The Tigers started off the 2022 year taking the two of three from the Beacons. Memphis highlighted their offense, defense, and heart against a good Beacons and Bears team. The Tigers were eager to start the year off fast and what better way than taking both series to start off 4-2.
“It feels great, especially when you start off good," fifth-year senior Ben Brooks said. "It’s been a lot of fun so far.”
Ian Bibiloni and Connor Shamblin had great opening weeks has both guys received the AAC Honor Roll Player of the week. When receiving the reward Bibiloni, a senior on the team, praised the team for the award.
“I was able to contribute for my team and we were able to get some wins," Bibiloni said. “We have a very talented team, from pitchers to position players. We are a team that are not satisfied, we show up every day and we put in the extra work and try and go wins some ballgames.”
Brooks also praised his teammates on the award.
“Connor has done a great job already and he definitely deserves it, same with Ian Bibiloni," Brooks said. "They are really big pieces to of our team and to see them have success this early is really encouraging.”
Here is how the Memphis Tigers performed against their three opponents: the Valparaiso Beacons, Central Arkansas Bears and Brown Bears.
Valparaiso Beacons vs Memphis Tigers Series:
Friday February 18th: The Tigers started the season off with an impressive win over the Beacons. Memphis scored thirteen runs while recording a shutout behind Connor Shamblin’s (1-0) gem.
Shamblin went six innings allowing no runs on one hit and walk in his Memphis debut. He also struck out seven batters and only allowed one walk. The offense gave him a lead, which included a Logan Kohler two-run homer, and never looked back.
Memphis started the onslaught on a run producing single by Ian Bibiloni. Kohler would plate three runs on the day and Blake Daniels would score two more on a single for his Tigers debut. Memphis would add insurance runs in the eighth to end the scoring. Landon Gartman and Hudson Ross would pitch shut outs for the bullpen.
Saturday February 19th: Memphis showed resiliency to rally from an early deficit and win in dramatic fashion. Down 3-0 in the seventh, The Tigers would tie the game with a run on a double by Ian Bibiloni, a run on a single by Blake Daniels, and the final run came on a bases loaded walk.
In the ninth inning, Taylor Howell scored the winning run with a single to left field scoring Ben Brooks from third. The final score was 4-3 making the Tigers 2-0. The bullpen did not allow a run through seven innings. Blake Wimberley pitched five innings in relief and gave up 1 hit and struck out 7. Dalton Kendrick (1-0) finished the game going two innings allowing only one hit.
Sunday February 20th: The Tigers went for the sweep to finish off a good opening day weekend. Memphis started the game with a Ben Brooks two-run home run. The Beacons would retaliate by attacking Carson Stinnett (0-1) the following inning, scoring two runs on four hits.
After a run from each team in the third and fifth inning, the Beacons would plate six runs in the sixth inning. Despite Taylor Howell hitting two home runs, and another two-run homer by Ian Bibiloni, the Tigers comeback would fall short. The Beacons Bobby Nowak would end the Memphis rally to get his first save of the season. Although the Tigers did not get the sweep, Memphis starts off the season 2-1.
Central Arkansas Bears vs Memphis Tigers:
Wednesday February 23rd: Canceled: Due to inclement weather, The Tigers were not able to play the Bears.
Brown Bears Vs Memphis Tigers:
Friday February 25th: The Tigers opened the series with the Brown Bears with a great opening day start from Connor Shamblin and a surplus of runs. Memphis took the first game 8-1 to improve to three and one on the season.
Shamblin struck out twelve batters on the day. He pitched six shut out innings and gave up only one hit. The Tigers offense got going in the third and did not look back starting with a run on a double by Jacob Compton.
Compton would put the game out of reach with a three-run homer to make it a 6-0. AAC Honor roll player of the week, Ian Bibiloni continued his hot play, hitting a two-run double that made it an 8-0 ball game. Brown would score off relief pitcher Landon Gartman (SV 1) to avoid the shutout.
Saturday February 26th: The Tigers use a three run, seven inning attack to win the series over the Bears. Dalton Folwer got the no decision working four innings. He gave up only two hits, no runs, struck out seven, and walked four batters this afternoon. Brown got on the board in the sixth inning, however the bullpen were able to recover and shut them down.
Going into the seventh the Tigers only had one hit, after they held the lead and never looked back. Ian Bibiloni tied the game after scoring on an errant pickoff attempt. Moments later, Zack Wilson scored on a wild pitch, then Black Daniels would score the games final run stealing home. Dalton Kendrick came in the eighth and pitched two scoreless innings to finish the game off.
Sunday February 27th: Memphis just fell short of getting a sweep against the Brown Bears. The Bears scored a run off starter Carson Stinnett in the first off a sacrifice fly after a leadoff triple. Stinnet had to leave the game due to an injury early in the game which lead to a bullpen game for the Tigers.
Austin Baskin would tie the game off run producing double play. It would go back and forth through the first sixth innings with Brown holding a 3-2 lead. The Bears offense would get going as Jacob Burley and Ryan Marra hit back to back homers and finish the inning scoring two more runs that made it a 7-2 game.
The Tigers began chipping away at the lead and made it a 7-6 ballgame in the eighth inning. The inning ended on a double play and Memphis had one more chance in the ninth with the tying run on second, but couldn’t score him which resulted in a loss.
Game 1: Valparaiso 0, Memphis 13. W: Connor Shamblin 1-0, L: Trent Turzenski 0-1.
Game 2: Valparaiso 3, Memphis 4. W: Dalton Kendrick 1-0, L: Nathan Chasey 0-1.
Game 3: Valparaiso 10, Memphis 8. W: Jake Miller 1-0, L: Carson Stinnett 0-1, SV Bobby Nowak 1.
Game 4: Central Arkansas, Memphis: PPD
Game 5: Brown 1, Memphis 8: W: Connor Shamblin 2-0, L: Zach Fogell, SV Landon Gartman 1.
Game 6: Brown 1, Memphis 3: W: Logan Rushing 1-0, L Gauge Lockhart 0-1, SV Dalton Kendrick SV 1
Game 7: Brown 7, Memphis 6: W: Santhosh Gottam 1-0, L Blake Wimberley 0-1 SV Charlie Beilenson.
VS: Alabama A&M 3/1/22 4:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
VS: Nicholls 3/4/22 4:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
VS: Nicholls 3/5/22 2:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
VS: Nicholls 3/6/22 1:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
@: Ole Miss 3/8/22 6:30 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
@: Samford 3/11/22 4:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
@: Samford 3/12/22 2:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
@: Samford 3/13/22 1:00 P.M. Matchups: TBD vs TBD
Catcher Tanner Booth, #32, recovers a low pitch and makes a play to end the inning in a game against Brown on 2/27. Brown would go on to win the game 7-6 despite another Memphis comeback.