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Memphis Baseball's Slump Continues, as They go 1-3 on the Week

Memphis pitcher David Warren looks towards the plate after releasing a pitch.
Memphis pitcher David Warren looks towards the plate after releasing a pitch.

Game 1: Memphis 4, Lipscomb 7 

Snapshot: Tigers can’t overcome six run deficit and fall 

Game 2: Memphis 2, Florida Atlantic 1 

Snapshot: David Warren and Brayden Sanders pitch Memphis to victory in pitcher’s duel 

Game 3: Memphis 5, Florida Atlantic 13 

Snapshot: FAU hits six homers to slug themselves to victory 

Game 4: Memphis 3, Florida Atlantic 14 

Snapshot: Tigers manage just three hits in blowout loss to FAU 

The Tigers went 1-3 on the week which included losing the series to Florida Atlantic. What made this even worse than last week was every game was at home and both losses to FAU were blowouts. The Tigers have dropped to four games below .500 and are 2-4 in conference play, far below expectations internally. 

The offense since the 16-run explosion last Saturday has been rudderless. The Tigers have not eclipsed five runs in their last six games; a big reason for their 1-5 record in that span. While there have been some quality ABs, nothing seems to be working. When the Tigers batters hit a hard liner, it’s caught for an out. When they work the count, the opposing pitcher finds that perfect pitch. When Memphis gets runners in scoring position, they fail to bring them in. 

That last fact has been the biggest issue of the Memphis offense of late. The number have been killing the team. Down 7-2 with the bases loaded and zero outs in the eighth inning against Lipscomb, Memphis didn’t manage a single hit. Bases loaded up 2-1 against FAU in the eighth inning with one away, don’t score a run. The next day down 8-5 in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded with one out, zero hits or runs. And that’s just the changes Memphis has had with the bases loaded, not even counting. 

The at-bats off the bench certainly don’t help the equation. After Saturday's loss, Coach Riser said, “We’ve got to be better off the bench pinch-hitting, it’s pretty evident we haven’t been good there.” The Tigers played the matchups multiple times this weekend in the big spots, and it didn’t produce anything.  

From the pitching side, nothing changed much. The team still struggles in the middle innings and finding quality bullpen arms. In positive news, David Warren had a dominant outing on Friday, to the tune of just one earned run and ten strikeouts through seven and a third innings. Seth Gardner had a couple of solid relief appearances during the week. Overall, the staff wasn’t great but not the sole culprit of the struggles. 

The main question is this, where do the Tigers go from here? Losing the series to FAU in a vacuum is no reason to panic. Losing to a five-win Lipscomb team, however, is not a good look and coupled with the struggles of the last month, the alarm bells start ringing. After the disappointing loss to Lipscomb on Tuesday, Coach Riser said, “This has been a very up-and-down club, when things go well, we do well, when things go bad, we do extremely bad.” 

That must be the concern for Memphis fans; things have been extremely bad lately. The Tigers haven’t won back-to-back games in two weeks. Memphis’ record in March was 8-12, a month that saw a three-game winning streak but also a five-game losing streak. With AAC play ramping up, the Tigers must get out of their funk quickly if they want to avoid slipping far down the conference standings and stalling the program's momentum. 

Player of the Week: David Warren, 7 1/3 IP, 10 Ks, 4 H, 2 BBs, 1 ER  

Warren’s dominant outing against FAU in a classic pitching duel was by far the highlight of the week, and one of the best single game performances of the season. He was in complete control of the game and besides a second inning homer, the Owls didn’t stand much chance. A well-deserved recognition as player of the week.  

Memphis will host Ole Miss on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before a weekend series with new AAC member Rice. Only Memphis vs Ole Miss will be available via streaming.  

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