Baseball searches for first win of the season against Tigers

John Bell, Courier Staff


The Western Illinois baseball team (0-6) looks to get first year head coach Andy Pascoe his first win in Purple and Gold and they travel to Memphis to take on the Tigers (5-3).

The Leathernecks have faced the Tigers 30 times in program history, with Memphis, (Memphis State), owning the series 21-8-1.

Western looks to rebound after three tough losses against Butler University this past weekend at Grand Park in Indianapolis.

Freshman Jayden Gibson looks to continue his hot start for the Necks this weekend. The freshman has appeared in five of the first six games, making four starts behind the dish for the Leathernecks. He made his first collegiate appearance when he got the start on opening day in Knoxville, where he collected two hits against Tennessee. Gibson had thrown out four of the six base stealers this season and is currently swinging a hot bat, with a .333 batting average. Senior Javin Drake moved into second all time in strikeouts on opening day against the Volunteers. He currently sits 25 strikeouts away from becoming the all time leader. Drake is also 10th in career wins in program history.

There have been a lot of newcomers for the Leathernecks this season. Fifteen players have made their debuts in Purple and Gold in the first two weekends of the season.

To go along with the new faces and coach Pascoe, the Leathernecks have a new coaching staff for 2020. Braeden Ward makes his way over as their pitching coach after spending the fall with Dayton. Ward also served time as a scout for PBR baseball in Ohio and as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Tiffin University.

Adam McGinnis returns to Western as a Graduate Assistant. McGinnis played under former head coach Ryan Brownlee for four seasons at Western Illinois before he found his way to the White Sox organization for a stint in the minors. McGinnis was a first team all Summit League selection in 2017 and owns a .286 career average as Western’s catcher. Trey Mulineberg was brought on in the fall as the Volunteer Assistant. Mulinebreg coached at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa since 2017. He attended ECC for two years before transferring to Mount Mercy College.

This weekend’s contests vs the Tigers will be Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Sunday’s game will be broadcasted on the Memphis Tigers network.