March 18, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Prior to opening Conference USA play this weekend, Tulane's baseball program will host cross-town rival New Orleans at 3pm CST on Tuesday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The two teams faced each other earlier this season on Feb. 27, with Tulane coming out on top by a score of 5-3.
"New Orleans is playing better as of late," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I know they are going to be ready to play. For the first time in a month, we only have one mid-week game, which is a relief for us."
For the past three weeks, Tulane had played games on Tuesday and Wednesday. They will not play five games in one week again until they face Southeastern Louisiana on April 30, New Orleans on May 1 and Houston for a three-game Conference USA weekend series that weekend.
Tulane currently sits at 12-10 on the year, after a weekend in which they took two of three games against first-time foe - and future Conference USA team - Texas-San Antonio. On Friday night, redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti pitched eight strong innings, but got no run support in a 3-2 loss. However, the Green Wave bounced back on Saturday behind senior Alex Byo's solid performance, defeating the Roadrunners, 2-1. On Sunday, the bats came alive, as senior Garrett Cannizaro crushed his first career grand slam in a five-run first inning, helping Tulane cruise to a 8-3 victory.
New Orleans travelled to Houston last week, where they played two games against Baylor and Houston. The Privateers dropped all four contests, scoring nine runs in the four games while allowing 39 to their opponents. On the season, UNO is 3-18, winning one against McNeese State and two against Alcorn State.
Tuesday's contest will be a battle of freshman on the mound, as Tulane will send righty Emerson Gibbs to the hill for his second collegiate start. Gibbs started last Wednesday's contest against the Southeastern Lions, pitching 5.1 innings while allowing five hits, one earned run and striking out five. On the season, the Jesuit High School product has not notched a decision in 12.1 innings of pitching, while posting nine strikeouts, three walks and a 4.38 ERA. UNO will send right-handed Stephen Potter out for his first collegiate start. In one appearance on the year, Potter has a 3.86 ERA in 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and one earned run.
At the dish, Tulane's batting average dropped a point after the weekend series against UTSA, but the individual averages of some Greenies are beginning to see an upward swing. Tulane is still led by senior Brennan Middleton and his .341 average, and senior Sean Potkay is in second with a .297 average. Cannizaro struggled early, but came on strong this past week after a 7-for-13 showing at the plate, as well as notching five walks and the aforementioned grand slam. Freshman Richard Carthon is right at .300, adding three more hits to his resume' this past Saturday.
UNO is batting .240 as a team, and is paced by Andre Damiens' .364 batting average. Reese Kanter is batting .291 with one home run and seven RBIs, while Chaz Boyer has posted a .278 average with one home run and five RBIs.
Bruce Peddie is in his fourth year as the skipper of the Privateers, posting a record of 37-138 at the Lakefront campus. UNO assistant coach James Jurries is a former player and assistant coach at Tulane, having served in the latter role just last season.
Jones holds a career record of 39-24 over the Privateers, and Tulane leads the all-time series record, 74-58. The winner of the annual series takes home the First NBC Cup, which is currently owned by the Green Wave. UNO last held the First NBC Cup in 2010 when they took two of three games that year.
Fans can tune into Tulane's flagship station, 106.1 The Ticket, to listen to the live broadcast. Live stats will be made available on TulaneGreenWave.com.
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.