March 4, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After playing four of their last five games on the road, Tulane's baseball squad will begin a five-game home stand by welcoming the Northwestern State Demons to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium for contests on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tuesday's contest will begin at 6:30pm CST, and Wednesday's game will get underway at 2pm CST.
"Northwestern State has very similar numbers as our team, and we have identical records," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I know they are extremely well coached. We are trying to find our way with a banged up pitching staff, but this will be a good challenge for us."
Tulane (6-6) is returning from a three-game weekend series in Tuscaloosa, Ala., against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Greenies took two of three games from Alabama after only winning once in their previous five games. Tulane defeated New Orleans last Thursday at home before travelling two states over.
Northwestern State (6-6) is coming off a weekend in which they won just one game in a three-game series against Missouri State - a team that Tulane faced on Sunday during the Texas State Tournament to open the season. The Demons dropped two games to Texas A&M during the middle of last week after defeating Texas-Pan American in two of three games. Northwestern State swept Grambling to start the season before dropping their first contest of the year to Louisiana Lafayette on Feb. 20.
Tuesday's matchup will feature two lefties, as Tulane will send left-handed senior David Napoli to the mound for his first start of the season. A weekend starter for most of the 2012 campaign, Napoli has appeared out of the bullpen three times this year, posting a 0-1 record in 9.2 innings, posting an ERA of 1.86. The New Orleans native has struck out 10 batters this season, while walking only six. The Demons will use Andrew Adams - a redshirt junior - on the mound. He will be making his third start of the year. Adams has no decisions on the year, notching a 3.86 ERA in just seven innings. His walks and strikeouts are even at seven.
The Demons are led by first-year head coach Lane Burroughs. He succeeded J.P. Davis who resigned on May 31 of last year. Burroughs previously coached as an assistant at Mississippi State, Kansas State, Southern Miss after getting started as an assistant under current Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn at Northwestern State in 1997.
At the dish, the Demons are led by Will Watson, a senior from Dallas. Watson is batting .362 with three doubles, a triple and seven RBIs on the 2013 campaign. Nick Purdy is the only other batter over .300, with an average of .319 to go along with his three doubles and six RBIs. Cort Brinson is right under that average at .296, with one home run and four RBI.
As a team, the Demons are batting .249. Their pitching staff's ERA is 4.99. Tulane's team batting is similar to the Demons - sitting at .245 - but Tulane's staff ERA is much lower at 3.09.
Tulane did not start the year strong at the plate, but has come on strong as of late. Senior Brennan Middleton - who brings an 11-game hitting streak into the Northwestern State contest - is batting .420, good for second in Conference USA. His 21 hits on the year are first in the conference. Freshman Tim Yandel upped his average over the weekend to .294. The Georgia native has ten hits on the season, fourth on the squad. Bozeman, Mont., native Sean Potkay had a huge series against the Crimson Tide, going 5-for-12 at the plate to bring his season batting average up to .289. He also added his first home run of the year in Saturday's contest. Junior Andrew Garner is only batting .255, but added two RBI over the weekend to bring his season total to a Conference USA second-best 10.
Senior Garrett Cannizaro laced two doubles during the series against Alabama, allowing him to be tied for first in Conference USA in the category on the year.
Tulane leads the all-time series against the Demons, 18-3. In the last ten games, Tulane has only lost once - back in 2009 when the Green Wave fell 10-6 in 10 innings on March 3.
Both games against Northwestern State will be broadcast live on the flagship station for Tulane athletics, 106.1 The Ticket. Live stats will be made available through TulaneGreenWave.com.
Over the weekend, Tulane will host High Point for a three-game series over the weekend.
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.