Jan. 25, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Due to inclement weather on Friday afternoon in the New Orleans area, the Tulane baseball team had to alter their spring practice opening plans. However, as the skies cleared on Saturday, the team took the field to participate in their first true spring practice, as the team went through their normal pre-game routine before playing a ten-inning intrasquad at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Despite the nasty weather on Friday, the team did get some pitches and swings in the Theresa Sofio Hitting Facility, affectionately known as the "Hack Shack".
But Saturday was back to normal for the Green Wave, as they took the field for the first time around 1pm CT to stretch.
Following the normal pregame routine, the squad was split as they played a 10-inning game that was highlighted by the deep pitching staff and the solid defense played around the infield on the day. Tulane's coaching staff liked what they saw out of their arms on the mound.
"We had some pretty good swings, but once again, on a cool day with the wind blowing in, the ball just doesn't carry that much," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I think a lesson for our pitchers is that they need to pound the strikezone and our defense needs to take care of the baseball, which I thought they did today. Offensively, we have some strides to make. I was impressed with Randy LeBlanc, (freshman) Corey Merrill and (senior) Brady Wilson. (Sophomore) Timmy Yandel got his feet under him during his second inning on the mound and threw the ball well."
Tulane had the opportunity to see two pitchers who have missed a considerable amount of time as of late. Redshirt sophomore Alex Massey pitched to live hitters on Saturday for the first time since pitching against UCF in the Conference USA Championship in Pearl, Miss., in May 2012. Massey was able to induce two double-play ground balls on the afternoon.
In addition to Massey, redshirt senior Tyler Mapes made his return to the mound after going out with an elbow injury against Nicholls State early last season.
"Alex Massey did not have good command today, but it was the first time he has been on the mound in almost two years," added Jones. "His velocity was there, though. We need for his command to get much better, and it will. But I was also really impressed with Tyler Mapes."
At the dish, freshman Hunter Williams tripled and singled on the day for the lone two-extra-base-hit performance of the afternoon. Senior Nick DiMaggio added two singles, and sophomore Matt Braud laced a double late in the contest.
Newcomers Garrett Deschamp and Stephen Alemais both scored runs, singled and swiped a bag. Deschamp added a walk to his line, as well. Freshmen Hunter Hope, Jake Willsey and Grant Brown each singled, as did junior transfer John Gandolfo, senior Briggs Barrios and Yandel.
Prior to the taking the field for their first outdoor practice of the spring, the Green Wave baseball team welcomed a special guest to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, as Tulane President Dr. Scott Cowen spoke to the team about what they mean to the school, and what it is like to be in Omaha at the end of the season.
"Dr. Cowen said that Omaha is the most fun thing he has been a part of at Tulane," stated Jones. "I was excited that he got to visit with our team, and I'm glad he was able to remind them how special and exciting it is to be there. He is a baseball fan, and he is a former Division I student-athlete. He can relate to a lot of the things our guys go through."
Tulane will return to the field on Sunday for another intrasquad around noon. The team will practice from Tuesday through Thursday during the next three weeks, as well as holding intrasquads against one another on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays leading up to opening weekend.
The Green Wave will play two Alumni Games on Feb. 8, pitting some of the program's greatest players against some of the current Tulane players. At 11am CT, players who wore the Olive and Blue prior to 1994 will play against one another. Following that game at 2pm CT, the current roster of Green Wave players will play a roster comprised of players that have played for Tulane since 1994.
The following week, the regular season will open at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium when the Green Wave welcome Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a four-game weekend series, including a Saturday doubleheader.
Season ticket and single game tickets for the 2014 Tulane baseball season are now on sale. Interested parties can call 504-861-WAVE (9283) for more information on tickets, or they may visit the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.