March 18, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Tulane University baseball team will look to improve on a five-game winning streak when the Green Wave travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on arch-rival LSU on Wednesday, March 19, at Alex Box Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday's game marks the 292nd time Tulane and LSU will meet on the diamond, which makes it the oldest and longest running rivalry in both school's history. Despite the rivalry, Green Wave head coach Rick Jones was quick to say that the contest is one of the 56 games on the regular season slate and that the team will look to learn more about itself as the Conference USA portion of the schedule is just two weekends away.
"Middle of the week games in this state are always challenging," Jones said. "We only play once (this week) - this is the first week where we only play one game in the middle of the week - and this gives us a chance to have at least one solid practice in this week. Once you get into the season, it goes so fast. Once you get past one game, you get ready for the next one. This is the next one.
"I've been doing this a long time and can't tell that much difference from day to day. But I know from a fan standpoint, it's one of those deals where I'll get more positive comments if we win and more negative comments if we don't. It's one of those things that happen every year. It's another game, but it's a game that our fans always like to watch and follow closely."
Tulane will head to the state capitol 13-5 on the year and looking to build on the momentum of a 5-0 week that included a pair of midweek victories over Northwestern State and a series sweep of Oakland over the weekend at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .287 with a .441 slugging percentage on the strength of 29 doubles, eight triples and 17 home runs. Junior outfielder Warren McFadden leads the team with a .346 batting average while junior catcher Jared Dyer and freshman third baseman Rob Segedin follow with respective marks of .339 and .333. Junior designated hitter Andrew Rodgers paces the club with four home runs, Segedin leads the way in RBI with 19 and junior centerfielder Aja Barto is 9-for-10 in stolen bases.
LSU, meanwhile, enters the midweek matchup 11-6 on the year and looking to snap a five-game losing streak that includes a weekend sweep at the hands of SEC foe Tennessee in Knoxville.
As a team, the Tigers are hitting .305 with a .503 slugging percentage courtesy of 30 doubles, nine triples and 23 home runs. Ryan Schimpf leads LSU with a .365 batting average while Blake Dean follows closely with a .356 mark and Matt Clark connects at a .351 clip. Clark paces the club with eight home runs and 23 RBI, and both Schimpf and Jared Mitchell are 5-for-6 in stolen bases.
Southpaw Ryan Byrd will toe the rubber for the Tigers. So far in 2008, Byrd has started three of the four games he has appeared in, posting an 8.80 ERA and allowing opposing batters to connect at a .364 clip. He is 1-1 on the year and has nine strikeouts in 15.1 innings.
Wednesday's game is one of five remaining games on the schedule before Tulane opens the C-USA portion of its slate on Friday, March 28, at UAB. Between now and then, the Wave will host Sacred Heart in a three-game series from March 21-23 and play a single game at Southeastern Louisiana on March 25.
"Between now and the (UAB) weekend, we want to try and establish as close to we can to a set lineup and also establish a where we are as far as our rotation for the weekend going into conference play," Jones said. "Neither of those two are 100 percent established right now."
For ticket information to any of the weekend's games against Sacred Heart, or for future Green Wave athletic events, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or go on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
PITCHING MATCHUP Wednesday, March 19 B/T ERA W-L G/GS IP H R ER BB K TU - Jonathan Garrett R/R 1.96 1-1 3/3 18.1 13 5 4 5 14 LSU - Ryan Byrd L/L 8.80 1-1 4/3 15.1 24 16 15 3 9