Junior Brennan Middleton Leads Conference USA in Batting Average Entering the Week
March 5, 2012
LSU Tigers (10-2) at Tulane Green Wave (10-2)
First Pitch: 6:30 (Tue.)
Stadium: Greer Field at Turchin Stadium
Series: LSU Leads 173-125-3
Television: CST (Live)
Looking at the Green Wave
The Green Wave enter the weekend on a posted their third straight winning week to open the 2012 campaign, grabbing a midweek win against Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday before winning two of three games versus Alabama at home over the weekend. The Olive and Blue are 10-2 overall on the season with a 10-1 mark on the Turf at Turchin.
This season has been a complete turnaround at the plate from 2011. After finishing at the bottom of Conference USA in batting average last season, Tulane enters the fourth week of the college baseball season with the top team batting average in C-USA. The Olive and Blue also rank among the top three in slugging % (1st), on-base % (2nd), runs scored (3rd), hits (2nd), RBIs (3rd), total bases (2nd) and stolen bases (2nd).
Brennan Middleton owns the top batting average in C-USA, entering the week hitting at a .525 clip and a nine game hitting streak. The junior has reached base in all 12 games this season and paces the team with 21 hits and 14 runs scored. Nick Schneeberger hit his first career grand slam on Sunday versus Alabama to help break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. The senior leads the team with 28 total bases and ranks second in RBIs (13), hits (20) and slugging percentage (.583).
The bullpen continues to shine for the Olive and Blue and own a 7-0 record with four saves through 12 games. The bullpen has logged 50 2/3 innings and allowed only 26 hits - 19 singles - and limits their opponents to just six runs on the season. Andrew Garner picked up his third win of the season on Friday night versus the Crimson Tide and Alex Facundus grabbed his second win of the year - tenth of his career - in the series finale versus UA.
Alex Byo (1-1) will make his third start of the season versus the Tigers on Tuesday. The junior tossed seven innings and allowed one run on five hits versus SLU last week to pick up the victory. He retired 21 of the 27 batters he faced and allowed just three base runners to reach second base in the game.
Looking at the Tigers
The Tigers were undefeated in five games last week, batting .388 as a team with 23 doubles, four triples and three homers while scoring 65 runs. On the season, LSU is 10-2 and enter the contest ranked among the top-15 in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls.
Mason Katz leads the Tigers attack at the plate with a .500 batting average, 18 runs scored and 11 extra base hits. The junior had reached base in 17 straight plate appearances before being retired in his first at-bat versus Dartmouth last Saturday, falling just one shy of the NCAA record. Raph Rhymes paces the squad with 17 RBIs and 21 hits, while Austin Nola has 14 hits, 14 runs scored and ten walks through 12 games in 2012.
Freshman Aaron Nola will make his second career start on the mound on Tuesday for the Purple and Gold. On the season, Nola is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in ten innings of work. He has made four appearances on the season with eight hits, four runs allowed and 14 strikeouts to just one walk.
As a pitching staff, LSU owns a 3.67 ERA in 108 innings of work. The Tigers have 114 strikeouts to just 31 walks, while limiting their opponents to a .253 batting average.
Inside the Series
This is the 302nd meeting between these two storied programs with LSU holding the edge at 173-125-3. LSU won the first ever meeting 10-8 during the 1893 and the two teams would meet in each of the next seven seasons. Head coach Rick Jones has had his success against LSU, winning 20 of 43 meetings against the arch rival Tigers. In 2001, the Green Wave earned their first College World Series berth by beating the Tigers twice in the NCAA Metairie Super Regional.
The pulse of the rivalry began to race when the two teams opposed each other as members of the Southeastern Conference. The two squads met during each season from 1937-1966 (31 straight years) and owned a record of 46-66-1 against the Tigers during SEC play.