Feb. 25, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - The Green Wave baseball squad will play games on Tuesday and Wednesday against two in-state foes - Nicholls State and New Orleans, respectively.
Tulane will travel to Thibodaux, La., for the 6:30pm CST game against Nicholls State on Tuesday before returning to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium to face New Orleans at 3pm CST on Wednesday.
"Obviously, we are playing a very improved Nicholls State team that will be a challenge for our club," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "Right now, we are a little wounded, so we will have to step up and be ready to perform. Nicholls is a team that always plays us tough."
Wednesday's game against New Orleans will mark the first game in the series to determine who takes home the First NBC Cup, a trophy given annually to the winner of the Tulane/UNO series.
"In terms of the UNO game, you just have to throw the records out. It's going to be another one where we have to be really ready to play," added Jones.
Tulane is 3-4 on the season, after being swept by Notre Dame this past weekend at home. It marked the first time Tulane was swept by a non-conference opponent at home since 1997, when Indiana visited Tulane and took three games in late February. The Green Wave got strong pitching performances from redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti and senior Alex Byo last Friday and Saturday, respectively, but it was not enough, as they fell 3-1 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday. Senior Garrett Cannizaro blasted Tulane's first home run of the season on Sunday, but Tulane still dropped the contest, 8-3.
Senior Brennan Middleton collected seven hits during the Notre Dame series, and is currently leading the team with a .379 batting average. Junior Andrew Garner is second on the squad in hitting with a .286 average and four RBIs. Senior cleanup hitter Sean Potkay leads Conference USA with seven walks.
On Tuesday, Tulane will send senior righty Tyler Mapes to the mound to pitch against the Colonels of the Southland Conference. Mapes (1-1) has made two appearances on the season, including a seven strikeout performance against Southeastern Louisiana last Tuesday for his first start and first win on the year. The Plano, Texas, native owns a 2.57 ERA on the 2013 campaign. Left handed freshman Zach Thiac will get the start at pitcher for Nicholls State. In 7.2 innings, Thiac is 1-0, with one walk, nine strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA.
Nicholls State is 5-2 on the season, after getting two wins from Towson this past weekend. The Colonels are lead at the plate by Matt Richard, who is batting .370, with one home run and five RBIs. Three other Colonels are batting above .340: Ray Eureste (.350), Tyler Duplantis (.348) and Philip Lyons (.345). As a team, Nicholls State is batting .303.
The Greenies have yet to name a starter for Wednesday's contest against UNO. The Privateers will throw senior lefty Stone Speer, who has made two starts on the year, throwing 10.0 innings and striking out 11 while posting an ERA of 9.00.
The Privateers are 0-8 on the year, but have faced stiff competition in South Alabama, Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. UNO is led at the dish by Andre Damiens' .500 batting average. Zacary Hawkins is hitting at a clip of .303, and has added four RBIs to his resume'.
Tulane holds the overall lead in the all-time series against Nicholls State, 55-22, including winning the last eight dating back to 2006. The last time the Greenies visited Nicholls State was April 4, 2008, when Tulane defeated the Colonels, 11-2.
Tulane also leads the all-time series against New Orleans, 73-58. Wednesday's game marks the first time the two teams will square off since 2011. Last season, the two teams did not face each other for the first time since the series inception in 1971.
The Green Wave will face one of their former assistants when they play UNO, as James Jurries is now an assistant coach for the Privateers. Jurries spent the last two seasons at the Uptown campus after playing five seasons in the Atlanta Braves organizations. He played his collegiate ball at Tulane from 1999-2002 and was named the National Freshman of the Year from three different publications in 1999.
Todd Graffagnini will have the call for both contests on Tulane's flagship station, WMTI 106.1 FM.
For tickets to the New Orleans game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
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