Feb. 19 Baseball Notebook

Go C-USA! Adam Amar
Adam Amar

Feb. 19, 2007

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Memphis becomes the final Conference USA to open its season when the Tigers visit No. 13 Mississippi on Tuesday night. One of the nation's most improved teams last season, Memphis hopes to build upon that success and make its first NCAA appearance since 1994. League teams have non-conference games against challenging foes such as South Alabama, Washington, St. John's, Georgia Southern, Missouri, Nebraska, LSU, Arizona State and USC on the schedule this week.




Senior, 1B, Chattanooga, La.

In the Thundering Herd's season-opening series at Charleston Southern, Murphy led MU to a series victory by reaching base three times in each game and slugging 1.100 for the weekend.  After being hit by pitches three times in Friday's opener, Murphy hit two home runs on Saturday, including a three-run, game-winner in an 11-9 victory.  He also doubled in that game and drive in five total runs.  Murphy added another hit and a walk in Sunday's 2-1 win.




Junior, RHP, Sugar Land, Texas

Morgan improved to 2-0 on the season with a dominating performance against North Florida on Friday night.  He threw seven innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits.  Morgan struck out 11 batters without yielding a single walk.  He fanned the side in the first inning and faced just four batters over the minimum setting the tone for a series sweep.






The Pirates fell in all three games at No. 15 UCLA over the weekend, dropping the final two games by a total of three runs.  Sophomore 1B Brandon Henderson batted .364 in the series, collecting four hits, one double and a pair of home runs with 11 total bases.  In the final game on Sunday, he went 3-for-3 with two solo home runs, two runs scored and two RBI.  Senior OF Harrison Eldridge continued his hot hitting streak this weekend as he batted .455 (5-for-11) in three games.  He picked up his first home run of the year on Saturday, an inside the park home run.  For the series, he scored four runs, with one double, two RBI, slugged .818 and has an on-base percentage of .538.  Eldridge is hitting .522 on the year with 10 runs scored, three doubles and four RBI.  He has collected at least one hit in all six games on the season.  Junior SS Dale Mollenhauer tied Eldridge with five hits on the weekend in 14 at-bats for a .357 batting average. He collected four RBI to lead the team, including a pair on Sunday to help the Pirates rally from a 7-2 deficit. In six games, he is batting .346 with nine hits, a double, a home run and a team leading nine RBI.  Senior reliever Jason Neitz saw action in two games against UCLA, working a total 5 1/3 innings of relief allowing three hits, while surrendering one run, striking out four and posting a 1.69 ERA.



The Cougars opened last week with a 16-9 win over Sam Houston State, UH's 10th consecutive victory over the BearKats.  Houston scored five runs in three straight innings to post the win.  The Cougars faced UC Irvine for the second straight season after winning two of three games in Irvine during the 2006 season.  The Anteaters swept Houston in the three-game series, the first home sweep of UH at Cougar Field since No. 25 Cal State Fullerton accomplished that feat in March, 2001.  Sophomore C Luis Flores homered in each of the first two games of the UC Irvine series.  The Del Rio, Texas native became the first player since Matt Weston in 2006 to homer in consecutive games.  Junior 2B Bryan Pounds posted a career-best five RBIs in the win over Sam Houston State, thanks to a two-run doubles and a pair of RBI-singles.  Junior DH Jimmy Cesario saw his six-game hitting streak snapped in the opener against UC Irvine.  He leads UH in batting at .429 with a pair of doubles, a home run and six runs scored.



The Thundering Herd opened its season by winning two-of-three games at Charleston Southern over the weekend.  The series win was Marshall's first to open a season since Feb. 14-15, 2003, at Mercer.  Senior 1B Brendan Murphy had a solid all-around weekend, hitting .400 (4-10) with two homers and five RBI while posting an on-base percentage of .571 and a slugging percentage of 1.100.  He reached base three times in each of the three games.  Junior OF Jeff Rowley, a junior college transfer, had a good debut weekend in a Marshall uniform, going 4-for-10 (.400) with a double, two walks and two RBI.  In holding Charleston Southern to one run Sunday, Marshall held an opponent to one run for the first time since a 6-1 win over Cleveland State on March 19, 2006.  Senior RHP Adam Dobies tossed a career-best 6 2/3 innings on Sunday to earn the win.  His previous best was five innings, set twice previously.  Dobies allowed just one run and struck out three with one walk.  Senior RHP Nick Wolle converted both of his save opportunities over the weekend, firing 3 1/3 innings while allowing just one hit and striking out four.



The Tigers are the final Conference USA team to open its 2007 season and will do so Tuesday night at No. 13 Mississippi.  Memphis is looking to build off a 2006 season in which it finished with a 32-28 record, an improvement of 19 games in the win column over the previous season.  Senior 1B Adam Amar earned first team All-C-USA honors last season and was named a preseason NCBWA Third Team All-American this year after finishing 2006 with a league-leading .395 batting average, along with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 66 RBI.  In Conference USA games, he was second in batting (.459) and on-base percentage (.525), while leading the league in hits (45) and RBI (38).  Junior CF K.K. Chalmers finished the season 39-of-43 on stolen base attempts.  The 39 steals allowed him to tie Memphis' single-season record set by former head coach Dave Anderson in 1981.  Chalmers has stolen 56 bases in his first two years as a Tiger, good for third on the program's all-time stolen base list.  Senior designated hitter Joey Lieberman smacked a team-leading 13 home runs last season and nearly half (20) of his 43 hits went for extra-bases.  Sophomore righthander Scott McGregor was named second team All-Conference USA as well as earning a spot on the All-Freshman team after going 7-3 with three complete games. 



Rice improved to 5-4 with three victories last week, highlighted by two wins over No. 20 Long Beach State. Rice has now won 33-consecutive regular season three-game weekend series at home at Reckling Park dating back to April of 2001.  This season the Owls had the lead in all four of the eventual defeats, but didn't extinguish some late rallies by the opposition on all four occasions.  Rice's pitching continues to be strong. For nine games this season the entire Rice staff has maintained a 1.87 ERA and held 291 hitters to a composite .220 batting average.  True freshman RHP Ryan Berry was sharp again while making only the second start of his college career. Against Long Beach State, Berry scattered seven hits over a career-long 7 2/3 innings while striking out a career-high eight. He allowed just two runs with three walks in improving his season record to 2-0.  Former MLB draft pick Ryne Tacker had the best week of any Rice pitcher by earning a win and a save in two relief outings. In a combined 10.1 innings of work, Tacker struck out 14 hitters and maintained a 0.87 ERA. He held 37 batters faced to a composite .216 batting average.  Junior LHP Joe Savery now has a total of 10.0 innings in three appearances this season. Savery has maintained a 0.90 ERA by allowing just one run on six hits while striking out eight.  Junior CF Tyler Henley has been hit by a pitch five times in nine games this season. Henley needs only three more HBP to tie Chris Kolkhorst's school record of 49 set in 2004.  Henley also threw out the tying run at home plate from centerfield with two out in the ninth inning Sunday against Long Beach State to preserve a narrow 2-1 win over the Dirtbags.  On Friday the Blue and Gray turned its first triple play in the field since April of 2003.



The Golden Eagles won all three games of the Coca-Cola Classic over the weekend.  Southern Miss opened the season with a 9-0 shutout win over Southern Illinois, rallied with four runs in the bottom-of-the-ninth to defeat Louisville, 6-5, and turned back Northwestern State, 10-7.  USM has a 17-4 record in regular season tournaments since 2002 and have earned seven tournament championships.  During the opening weekend, the Golden Eagles played six sophomores and five freshmen, including four position starters who are sophomores.  Junior Trey Sutton collected a triple, three walks and five RBIs for the weekend and also scored five runs, while starting at first base for the first time in his career because of an arm injury.  Sophomore OF Michael Ewing hit .357 for the weekend (5-for-14) with a walk and three RBIs, including the game-winning runs in Saturday's come-from-behind win.  Senior RHP Ryan Belanger won Friday's season opener against Southern Illinois, pitching seven innings, giving up four hits, walking one and striking out seven.  Junior RHP Mike Cashion made his first appearance since April of 2005 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, pitching 2.0 innings, giving up one run on one hit, walking two and striking out one on Sunday.



The Green Wave swept a three-game series against North Florida over the weekend, sandwiching a pair of strong pitching performances around an offensive outburst on Saturday.  In the opener, junior RHP Sean Morgan struck out 11 (two shy of his career high) and did not allow an earned run in Tulane's 5-1 win.  On Sunday, sophomore LHP Shooter Hunt fanned a career-high 10 and walked just one in 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits in another 5-1 decision.  In-between, the Wave used a 12-run third inning to catapult them to a 20-5 victory.  Junior IF Brad Emaus homered twice, while junior SS Cat Everett and sophomore 3B Seth Henry each had four hits.  While Tulane used several bench players down the stretch, Everett was the lone Green Wave player to post six plate appearances and made the most of each with four singles, three RBI, a sacrifice fly and a walk. Henry, meanwhile, went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBI.  Sophomore OF Warren McFadden had five hits and four RBI in the series, including his second home run of the young season in Friday's win.  McFadden hit just one home run during his Freshman of the Year season in 2006.



UAB posted an opening day win for the fifth straight season, getting the Brian Shoop era off to a good start with a 5-4, come-from-behind win in 11 innings over Central Michigan.  However, the Blazers would drop the final two games of the series against the Mid-American Conference preseason favorites, 5-4 and 5-3.  Although Friday's win was the first for Shoop as UAB's coach, it was the 693rd of his career as he continues to close in on No. 700.  Senior OF J.R. Bond scored a pair of crucial runs in UAB's season opener. Bond drew a walk and was later driven home on a Levi Patmon single to help tie the game, 4-4, in the ninth and then in the 11th, Bond singled and then stole second before scoring the game-winning run on a Billy Lichtner game-ending single.  Junior OF Phil Bell hit the first home run of the season for the Blazers when he launched a shot against the wind to left field in the second game of the team's series with Central Michigan on Saturday. Bell¹s home run gave the Blazers a 4-0 lead, however a five-run ninth inning for the Chippewas ended UAB's hopes of starting the season 2-0.  Sophomore RHP Mitch Kloskowski was solid in his first-ever start on Saturday, throwing five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three.  Five different Blazers stole a base in the series, as the team combined to go 6-of-7 in stolen base attempts.



The Golden Knights went 1-2 against Maryland over the weekend, dropping the first two games of the series before posting a 4-3 win on Sunday.  Sophomore 1B Kiko Vasquez starred at the plate for UCF in the series, going 6-for-13 (.462) with three home runs, seven RBI and four runs scored.  Included was a grand slam in Saturday's game, the first grand slam by a UCF player since Dee Brown hit one on May 6, 2005.  Vasquez hit two home runs in the game, his first career multiple home run game and the first multi-homer game by a Golden Knights since April 15, 2006.  He also hit a home run on Saturday, extending his hitting streak to six games.  Junior RHP Matt McClung set a career-high with four strikeouts on Saturday.  He went 4.1 innings and allowed just three hits.  Junior OF Tyson Auer's triple in the fifth inning on Sunday was his 10th career three-bagger.  One more and he will move into a tie for 10th on the UCF all-time list.  Junior RHP Jaeger Good earned the win in Sunday's 4-3 victory, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on five hits before the UCF bullpen came in to throw 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball, as three players combined to allow no hits and just one walk.


Baseball America (Feb. 12)

1.         North Carolina (3-0)

2.         Clemson (2-1)

3.         Vanderbilt (6-0)

4.         South Carolina (5-1)

5.         Arkansas (6-2)

6.         RICE (5-4)

7.         Virginia (4-1)

8.         Florida State (9-0)

9.         Oregon State (9-1)

10.       Cal State Fullerton (7-2)

11.       Miami-Fla. (4-4)

12.       Wichita State (1-2)

13.       Texas (6-5)

14.       Arizona State (7-3)

15.       UCLA (6-4)

16.       Georgia Tech (3-3)

17.       Oklahoma State (5-1)

18.       San Diego (9-4)

19.       Nebraska (3-1)

20.       Pepperdine (7-3)

21.       TULANE (1-2)

22.       TCU (6-1)

23.       Winthrop (7-2)

25.       Evansville (3-3)


Collegiate Baseball (Feb. 19)

1.         Vanderbilt (6-0)

2.         Florida State (9-0)

3.         North Carolina (3-0)

4.         South Carolina (5-1)

5.         Clemson (2-1)

6.         RICE (5-4)

7.         Nebraska (3-1)

8.         Cal State Fullerton (7-2)

9.         Oregon State (9-1)

10.       Arkansas (6-2)

11.       Virginia (4-1)

12.       TCU (6-1)

13.       Mississippi (4-1)

14.       Arizona State (7-3)

15.       Georgia Tech (3-3)

16.       Miami-Fla. (4-4)

17.       Arizona (9-2)

18.       Pepperdine (7-3)

19.       Wichita State (1-2)

20.       Long Beach State (5-4)

21.       San Diego (9-4)

22.       Texas (6-5)

23.       Oklahoma State (5-1)

24.       Texas A&M (7-1)

25.       TULANE (1-2)

26.       North Carolina State (5-0)

27.       Florida Atlantic (9-0)

28.       Alabama (6-1)

29.       Auburn (6-1)

30.       Coastal Carolina (7-0)


NCBWA (Feb. 19)

1.         Vanderbilt (6-0)

2.         South Carolina (5-1)

3.         North Carolina (3-0)

4.         Clemson (2-1)

5.         Cal State Fullerton (7-2)

6.         Florida State (9-0)

7.         Oregon State (9-1)

8.         RICE (5-4)

9.         Virginia (4-1)

10.       Arkansas (6-2)

11.       Mississippi (4-1)

12.       Nebraska (3-1)

13.       Arizona State (7-3)

14.       Miami-Fla. (4-4)

15.       Pepperdine (7-3)

16.       Oklahoma State (5-1)

17.       Texas (6-5)

18.       TCU (6-1)

19.       Alabama (6-1)

20.       TULANE (1-2)

21.       Georgia Tech (3-3)

22.       Winthrop (7-2)

23.       Arizona (9-2)

24.       Wichita State (1-2)

25.       Kentucky (3-0)

26.       Long Beach State (5-4)

27.       UCLA (6-4)

28.       Florida Atlantic (9-0)

29.       North Carolina State (5-0)

30.       Coastal Carolina (7-0)



Other than the players of the week, here's a look at some of the top performances in Conference USA during the games of February 12-18:



ECU - BRENDAN HENDERSON - batted .364 in three games at No. 15 UCLA, collecting four hits, one double, two home runs and 11 total bases.  Had his first career multiple home run game in the series finale.

HOU - RYAN LORMAND - hit .500 (9-for-18) with three walks, a double and five RBI.  He had three multi-hit games (including a 4-for-4 showing vs. Sam Houston State) and a pair of multiple-RBI outings.

RICE - J.P. PADRON - was 2-for-5 (.400) with a double and three runs scored.  Also drew a walk and was hit by a pitch for a .571 on-base percentage.

USM - BRIAN DOZIER - the Golden Eagles leadoff hitter reached base in eight of 15 plate appearances for a .533 on-base percentage.  He had a pair of RBI, stole two bases and scored five runs.

TLN - BRAD EMAUS - helped the Green Wave sweep North Florida by going 6-for-11 (.545) with two home runs, six RBI and three runs scored.

UAB - DANNY SAWYER - had a pair of multiple-hit games and batted .333 (4-for-12) against Central Michigan.  Three of his hits were doubles and he scored in each game.



HOU - BRYAN TULLY - earned the Cougars only win last week, throwing 2 1/3 inings of scoreless relief against Sam Houston State.  In two appearances covering 3 2/3 innings, he struck out six and allowed just one hit without surrendering a run.

MAR - ADAM DOBIES - tossed a career-best 6 2/3 innings in MU's 2-1 win over Charleston Southern.  Allowed just one run and walked one, while striking out three.

RICE - RYNE TACKER - earned a win and a save in two appearances, posting a 0.87 ERA in 10 1/3 combined innings pitched.  Had nine strikeouts against Texas-San Antonio and five K's in five innings against Long Beach State.

USM - PATRICK EZELL - earned a win and a save over the weekend, getting out of a pair of jams.  Allowed just one hit and struck out one in the two appearances.

TLN - SHOOTER HUNT - struck out a career-high 10 in 5 2/3 innings against North Florida.  He walked just one and allowed one run on three hits.

UAB - JAMES OLIVER - tossed 1 2/3 inings of hitless ball with one strikeout to earn the victory on opening day.  He also threw 2 1/3 innings of relief on Sunday, striking out two and allowing one run on four hits.

UCF - KIKO VASQUEZ - went 6-for-13 (.462) in a series vs. Maryland, posting at least one hit and a run scored in each game.  Hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in Saturday's game.





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