Baseball Set to Host Nationally-Ranked Louisiana-Lafayette Squad

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Freshman righty Corey Merrill will get the start against ULL on Tuesday night
Freshman righty Corey Merrill will get the start against ULL on Tuesday night

March 10, 2014

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NEW ORLEANS - Coming back from San Francisco where they participated in the Cal Baseball Classic this past weekend, the Tulane baseball will look to turn things around against one of the top teams in the nation as they host Louisiana-Lafayette for a 6:30pm CT game time at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The game will be broadcast on the home of Green Wave baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH. Live streaming audio and video will be made available to All-Access pass users at TulaneGreenWave.com. Live stats will be made available through GameTracker at TulaneGreenWave.com.

Tulane went 1-2 this past weekend in Berkeley, Calif., and in Oakland, as they defeated Cal in the opening game of the weekend by a score of 10-5. However, the Green Wave struggled after the initial contest, as they dropped back-to-back games to Arkansas and San Francisco by scores of 4-0 and 9-0, respectively. It was the first time Tulane has been shutout in back-to-back games since the 2002 season.

The Green Wave are 9-5 so far this season, and have managed to score double-digit runs in four of their 14 games. In 2013, Tulane only scored double-digit runs in three contests.

The Green Wave will have their hands full on Tuesday evening as the Ragin' Cajuns will make the two-hour trip down to New Orleans as one of the hottest teams in the country. ULL is ranked sixth in the most recent Baseball America poll and is tenth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the Collegiate Baseball Poll.

Last weekend, the Ragin' Cajuns took three straight games from Texas Southern. The previous week, they defeated then-number one LSU, 4-1, in six innings in Baton Rouge before taking two of three from a nationally-ranked Alabama squad. On the season, ULL sits at 13-2.

As a team, Tulane is hitting .253 despite three individuals having spectacular seasons at the plate. Sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon leads the team with a .383 batting average, which sits at fifth in the Conference USA rankings. Just behind him is senior outfielder Andrew Garner, who is tenth in the league with a .341 batting average. Junior second baseman Garrett Deschamp is hitting .313, and he leads the team with 19 RBI.

Freshman third baseman Hunter Hope notched his second home run of the season this past weekend to tie for the team lead with two, and he is batting .293 with 12 RBI. Senior first baseman Bowen Woodson owns a .289 batting average in 14 starts this year.

Tulane will more than likely use quite a few arms on Tuesday in order to provide valuable experience to their deep pitching staff, but freshman righty Corey Merrill will be tabbed with the start. The Lutcher, La., native started the Sunday game during the opening-weekend series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and has since made two appearances out of the bullpen for the Green Wave. On the season, Merrill has no record with a 3.24 ERA and seven strikeouts in 8.1 innings pitched.

ULL is coming into the contest with a .273 team batting average, and their top three hitters have very similar numbers to Tulane's. Team leader Seth Harrison paces the Ragin' Cajuns with a .333 batting average, while Tyler Girouard (.324) and Blake Trahan (.313) have also hit well at the plate. The Ragin' Cajuns have three other hitters who have started in a majority of the team's games with a .260 batting average or higher. Jace Conrad, who is hitting .250, leads the team with three home runs and 18 RBI.

The Ragin' Cajuns like to swipe bases, as they have 26 stolen bases in 34 attempts this year. Eight of their players have two or more stolen bases on the season. Fortunately for the Green Wave, freshman catcher Jake Rogers leads Conference USA in runners thrown out with eight.

On the mound, Louisiana-Lafayette will send either Ryan Wilson or Cody Boutte to face the Green Wave. Both pitchers are lefties. Wilson has appeared in five games this year with no starts, pitching 6.2 innings and recording four strikeouts while posting a 2.70 ERA. Boutte has a 6.75 ERA in two starts, and he owns a record of 1-0 with eight strikeouts in 9.1 innings of work.

Tulane leads the overall series with ULL, 43-30, and Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones owns a 17-13 record against the Ragin' Cajuns. Last year, the two teams squared off just once, as the Green Wave traveled to Lafayette, La., for the first time since the 2003 season, picking up a 5-2 victory on April 16. Tulane has won six out of the last ten games against ULL.

The two teams will face one another again on April 1 in Lafayette later this season.

The Ragin' Cajuns are led by skipper Tony Robichaux, who is in his 20th season at the helm of the program.

Following Tuesday's contest, the Green Wave will head North Carolina to play the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, N.C., in a Conference USA series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.