Bulls Head North for Series at Memphis
Matchup: USF (30-7, 5-4 American) at Memphis (21-17, 3-6 American)
Dates: Friday-Sunday, April 21-23, 2017
Times: 7:30 p.m. | 3:00 p.m. | 1:00 p.m.
Location: Memphis, Tenn. | FedEx Park (2,000)
Follow: Stats | Listen | Watch
TAMPA, APRIL 20, 2017 – The University of South Florida baseball team leaves Florida for just the second time this season when it begins a three-game series at Memphis on Friday.
All three games of the series can be heard on AM 1040 and watched on GoTigersGo.com.
USF started the week with a 4-2 win at North Florida on Wednesday. The Bulls clubbed eight hits, seven of which came from the 1-4 batters in the lineup. The bullpen guided USF to victory, logging 4.2 innings of scoreless ball and posting nine strikeouts.
Having met 13 times in the last three seasons alone, the Bulls and Tigers are very familiar with one another. USF leads the all-time series, 23-20, and has slight advantages in both Tampa (12-9) and Memphis (9-8). USF seeks its first series win at Memphis since 2000.
Scouting Report – Memphis
The Tigers enter the weekend series having lost eight of their last nine games. After a 20-9 start to the year, Memphis has dropped seven games to ranked teams in the month of April, most recently a pair of defeats to No. 9 Arkansas. The Tigers do have two wins earlier in the season over top-15 Ole Miss.
The Tigers are led offensively by junior outfielder Tyler Webb, who is hitting .307 with 27 runs scored, nine doubles and four home runs. Senior first baseman Andy Bowman is hitting .282 with a team-high 32 RBI. Freshman infielder Alec Trela is batting .272 with 23 runs and a team-best 13 doubles. Senior infielder Trent Turner leads the Tigers with 30 runs scored and is second on the club with 28 RBI.
Redshirt-sophomore Blake Bennett has arguably been the Tigers’ best pitcher. In 19 appearances out of the bullpen, he holds a team-low 2.31 ERA.
Friday – RHP Phoenix Sanders (5-1, 2.41) vs. LHP Drew Crosby (4-0, 3.69)
Saturday – LHP Shane McClanahan (4-1, 2.82) vs. RHP Connor Alexander (5-2, 3.69)
Sunday – RHP Peter Strzelecki (1-1, 2.20) vs. TBA
· The Bulls are receiving votes in the latest USA Today poll (53). The Bulls are currently No. 30 in the latest RPI and No. 25 by the NCBWA.
· Senior Luke Borders (Winter Haven, Fla.) hit .368 last week with three runs, two doubles, two homers and three RBI. He was one of three Bulls to club two hits in Wednesday’s win. He also notched his third triple of the season and has now reached base safely in all but one game.
· Redshirt-senior Ryan Valdes (Tampa) picked up his seventh victory of the year on Wednesday, improving to 7-0. His seven wins are the third-most in the nation.
· The Bulls’ pitching leads the country in strikeouts per nine innings (10.6). The staff ranks second in WHIP and third in ERA and hits allowed per nine innings.
· Borders has played 13 games against Memphis in the last three years. He is hitting .391 with eight runs, four doubles, a homer and nine RBI against Memphis.
· Junior Kevin Merrell (Odessa, Fla.) recorded two hits and two runs on Wednesday at UNF. He holds a team-high .407 average and he leads the conference with 34 runs scored.
· Merrell has gotten familiar with the Tigers, seeing them nine times in his first two seasons. He is batting .395 with two doubles and is a perfect 4-for-4 on steal attempts.
· In the four matchups between the teams last year, junior Duke Stunkel Jr. (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and sophomore David Villar (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) each hit over .400 with a combined six runs scored.
About USF Baseball
The University of South Florida baseball team is one of the fastest rising programs in the country. Under the guidance of head coach Mark Kingston, the Bulls reached the NCAA Regionals in 2015 for the first time in 13 years and USF followed that success with a consensus Top 10 recruiting class. Five players from that recruiting class were everyday starters in 2016 including outfielder Chris Chatfield (Riverview, Fla.), who led the team in home runs, and catcher Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.), who was named the 2016 PGCBL Player of the Year. The Bulls won series from two ranked teams in 2016 (No. 21 East Carolina, No. 25 Michigan State, began the 2017 season with a series win over Iowa and earned just it’s second win over a top-five team with a 4-2 victory against No. 3 Florida State on Feb. 21.
The USF Baseball program has won five conference titles and the Bulls have made 11 NCAA appearances. Follow the baseball team on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram), visit GoUSFBulls.com for the most up-to-date information, and purchase tickets for upcoming games at USFBullsTix.com. For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.
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