June 18, 2024

It’s Simple For Memphis Baseball. Just Win!

It’s Simple For Memphis Baseball. Just Win!

Memphis Baseball returns home, to FedExPark Avron Fogelman Park, for the final series of the regular season. In that series, the Tigers will take on the Wichita State Shockers. The three-game series will begin on Thursday, May 16th, at 6 p.m., and conclude, on Saturday, May 18th, at 1 p.m. 

With the Tigers currently sitting in 10th place in the American Athletic Conference standings this is a critical series for a potential play in postseason. The conference takes the top 8 teams each season to compete in its postseason tournament. We will dive more into this shortly. 

We will start with some series history. Next, we will scout the Shockers and see who they are and what players to watch for. Following that, we explain what is on the line in this series.  In closing, give three keys to the win for Memphis. Let’s see what history has taken place between these programs. 

Series History 

Memphis will host the 18th, 19th, and 20th games all-time matchups this weekend. The Shockers currently lead the overall series, 11-6, dating back to the 2017 season. Memphis will look to gain some momentum in this series as the Shockers have win two of the last three meetings including a 12-3 and 8-1 win from last season. This will be the only series between these two programs this season.  

Scouting The Shockers

 The Shockers enter the weekend with a 27-26 overall record including 13-11 in AAC play. Wichita is currently in 4th place in the conference standings and has won 5 straight games following their sweep of Charlotte at home. Analyzing the current 2024 statistics shows that Wichita State is a formidable team in all phases.

 To further this point, the Shockers rank #4, with a .284 batting average, in the conference team stats. Leading the team is freshman infielder, Camden Johnson, who comes into this weekend with a .330 average as well as a team-leading 68 hits. The Shockers come in with 109 doubles, 12 triples, and 59 home runs. 

On the mound, the Shockers continue to bring potent numbers. Currently ranked #3 in team ERA, with 5.02, Wichita State has consistency on the bump. Freshman right-hander Tommy LaPour, who will start on Thursday, enters with a 4.52 ERA as well as a 4-3 record. LaPour has allowed 54 hits, 39 runs, 31 earned runs, 30 walks, and 62 strikeouts in his 90.1 innings pitched. 

On the mound for Friday is senior left-hander Caden Favors. Favors is looking to make history for Wichita State as he searches for 100 strikeouts. Camden enters the final weekend of the regular season with 94. Favors is looking to become the second Shocker to accomplish this feat since 2011 when Charlie Lowell struck out 124 batters. Favors is tied for 3rd nationally with 90 innings pitched and has labored at least 5.3 innings in every start this season including two complete games. 

What Is On The Line This Weekend? 

As we briefly touched on Memphis is in the 10th and final place in the conference standings. While this sounds extremely daunting the Tigers are only two games out of 5th place. With this, Memphis will have to win at least two of the three games if not all not all, to make the jump into the top 8 teams and make conference play. 

Photo Credits – Brock Busick – Memphis Baseball

Memphis fans should be cheering on the Tigers as well as other teams this weekend. Rice currently holds the #8 slot in the rankings and will face #13 ranked, and conference front-runner, East Carolina. A sweep by ECU would bode well for Memphis. South Florida sits just above Memphis in the standings and will face a surging UAB program. With a Blazers victory in the series, this could catapult Memphis into post season play. If UTSA, sitting in 2nd place, could knock off Florida Atlantic, who is in 5th, this would also assist the Tigers. 

There are many scenarios that could play out but it all comes down to the Tigers winning. With two or three wins this weekend plus some help from other programs this could be an eventful final weekend in the AAC. 

Three Keys To A Memphis Win

As we mentioned above this series is crucial. For Memphis, there are several keys to winning the series but we will focus on three. 

Credits – Memphis Baseball

First for Memphis is the bats have to get going early and stay hot. Daunte Stuart has been invaluable to the Tiger offense this season as he leads the team in numerous statistical categories. Stuart is currently riding a 9-game hitting streak and also has been on base in all games but one in 2024. Counting last season, Stuart has been on base in 69 of the last 70 games. 

Being on base brings us to our second key which is be aggressive on the base paths. Memphis currently has 83 stolen bases which is #2 in the AAC and #45 nationally. Leading the Tigers is Pieree Seals who has 16 snagged bags on the season. This aggressiveness should prove to be a simple yet already effective way to keep pressure on the Shockers this series. 

Credits – Memphis Baseball

The last key is all about pressure. Memphis will need to keep their starters clean of as many runs as possible and send it to Sanders. Brayden Sanders to be exact. Sanders has recorded nine saves this season and has been a catalyst in late games for the Tigers. His nine saves rank him #1 in the AAC and #10 in the nation. In addition, with these saves in 2024, Sanders has also tied Matt Yokley{2007} for the fifth most saves in a single season at Memphis. The right-hander was named to the NBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch list on April 24th and is a major key in this series for Memphis. If they can get it to Sanders he has shown he can, and will, close the door on the opposing offense. 

This series is not the most marquee around the nation but in the AAC it will have many eyes on it. Not just from these two programs but others around the conference. Memphis has a birth-to-postseason riding on this weekend. As mentioned above they will need to win and have some help from their conference friends. 

Credits – Memphis Baseball

It’s simple. Just Win!

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