The Bulls, 15-14 (1-2), are getting back to conference play as they host Memphis for a 3-game series (Friday and Saturday at 6:30 PM, Sunday at noon). The Tigers are 10-18 (1-2) on the year but went 2-1 against the Bulls last year.
USF enters the weekend batting .246 as a team while the pitching staff has a group ERA of 3.48 (hitting just .233 against them). The Tigers are batting .258 as a team and have a staff ERA of 5.03 (hitting .264 against them).
At the plate, the Tigers are led by sophomore infielder Jake Little who is batting .333 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs, has driven in 17 runs and has scored 21 more. Junior outfielder Darien Tubbs is batting .306 with 6 doubles, 4 triples, a home run, has driven in 13 runs, scored 20 more and is 11 for 12 in steal attempts (leads the team). Junior infielder Brandon Grudzielanek is batting .287 with 5 doubles, 3 home runs, 18 RBIs, and has scored 17 runs. The Tigers have power up and down their order, something the USF staff has to keep in mind during the games, no matter what inning they are in.
On the mound, Memphis is led by senior Matt Ferguson who is 3-4 (3.72 ERA) and has thrown 36.1 innings, allowing 40 hits, 22 runs, 12 walks and has struck out 21 batters on the year. Sophomore RHP Colton Hathcock is 3-3 (3.81 ERA) and has thrown 40 innings, allowing 34 hits, 22 runs, 22 walks and has struck out 37 batters. Closing games for Memphis is junior RHP Nolan Blackwood who has 4 saves in 14.2 innings of work, where he has allowed 18 hits, 11 runs, 6 walks while striking out 9. The USF offense, which has been battling injuries and consistency, has a chance to really get going again against a staff that is coming off of a 12-run game against them in their last contest against Arkansas. Hopefully USF can jump out early on them and give Phoenix Sanders and company an early lead starting on Friday night. USF really needs to begin this series strong.