Redshirt-Freshman Randy LeBlanc will get the start on the mound for Opening Night vs. Siena
Game Notes | C-USA Weekly Release
2/17/12 - 2/19/12
Siena Saints at Tulane Green Wave
First Pitch: 6:30 (Fri.), 1:00 (Sat.), Noon (Sun.)
Stadium: Greer Field at Turchin Stadium
Series: Tulane Leads 6-0
Note: Saturday's doubleheader will feature a nine inning contest followed by a seven inning game. There will be 40 minutes between games.
Looking at the Green Wave
Tulane will look to start the 2012 season off on the right foot when they host Siena in a rare four-game series on the turf of Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Including 2012, the Green Wave has played a four game series in three of the last four seasons (Towson, 2011; Wright State, 2009), but you have to go all the way back to 1991 to find the previous four gamer (Northwestern).
Head coach Rick Jones owns a 13-5 overall record in season opening games, boasting a 12-3 mark in games played at Turchin Stadium. Jones has played just two games away from the friendly confines in his Tulane coaching career, losing at Pepperdine (7-9) and against TCU (3-5) at the Houston Collegiate Classic during the 2002 and 2006 seasons, respectively. Though Jones has lost the last two season openers, he won his first five at the helm of the Olive and Blue.
Jeremy Schaffer earned Preseason All-American honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and College Baseball Insider and enters the year as the team's top returning hitter. Schaffer was among the Conference USA leaders in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage at the conclusion of 2011. His 32 home runs ranks 14th all-time at Tulane, while his 145 RBIs rank 19th on the career charts.
The Olive and Blue will return seven of their nine every day starters from a season ago, with Nick Boullosa and Matt Ryan each graduating. Nick Schneeberger was the team's second leading hitter last season, ending the year hitting .301 with 35 RBIs. Brandon Boudreaux, Garrett Cannizaro, Blake Crohan, Brennan Middleton and Bowen Woodson also return to the TU lineup.
On the mound, Alex Byo returns for his junior season after leading the team in ERA in 2011. The junior posted a 3.32 ERA in 59.2 innings of work. Randy LeBlanc and Kyle McKenzie both return after being injured during the 2011 season. LeBlanc and McKenzie each received medical redshirts and enter the 2012 campaign as freshman and sophomore, respectively.
An assembly of newcomers join the mix in 2012, with Jordan Gross (Fr. LHP), Alex Massey (Fr. RHP), Tyler Mapes (Jr. RHP), Troy McCartney (Jr. IF), Cameron Neal (Fr. IF/OF), Tucker Oakley (Jr. IF/P), Sean Potkay (Jr. IF/OF) and Andrew Reeves (Jr. RHP) arriving to bolster the Green Wave lineup.
Looking at the Saints
The Saints lost a lot from last year's team which went 28-30, went 14-7 down the stretch and reached the MAAC Championship game for the second time in four years. Junior Dan Paolini and his career .380 average and 56 home runs signed with the Seattle Mariners after being drafted in the 10th round of the MLB draft and weekend starters Kyle Sumple and Zach Hartman were lost to graduation.
Vincent Citro is part of an intriguing young nucleus that comprises Siena's offense. The sophomore was second on the team with a .293 batting average last season, playing in 54 of Siena's 58 games, at shortstop and he was a preseason All-MAAC Preseason selection at second base. Mike Fish, John Rooney and Tyler Bell all look to play prominent roles for the Saints in 2012, as well.
Though Sumple and Hartman started a combined 30 games last season, head coach Tony Rossi has a good option to turn to on Friday nights. Junior Justin Brantley started 15 games last year, posting a 6-6 record and a 3.29 ERA, and was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's top prospect by Baseball America. Southpaw Ryan Poplawski will likely move into the starting rotation after topping the Saints with 26 appearances a year ago.
Inside the Series
These two squads have faced off in a pair of three-game series prior to the 2012 season, with Tulane sweeping both sets. Tulane grabbed three wins during the 2001 season, winning 14-6, 8-6 and 16-6. In that meeting, current assistant coach Jake Gautreau pounded out eight hits, including three doubles and a home run, while scoring five runs and driving in four RBIs.
The Green Wave topped the Saints in a three-game set again in 2007, not allowing a run in a trio of victories. The Olive and Blue won by scores of 6-0, 2-0 and 19-0.