March 31, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Fresh off a 2-1 Conference USA series victory on the road over UAB, the Tulane University baseball team will return to action on Tuesday, April 1, when the Green Wave play host to McNeese State at 6 p.m. at the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The game against the Cowboys is one of five Tulane will play this week as the Green Wave travels to Thibodaux, La., for a Wednesday showdown at Nicholls State before returning home for a three-game weekend slate against C-USA up-and-comer Marshall. While the Green Wave will play four of the five games this week at home following four straight road contests, Tulane head coach Rick Jones stressed the importance of playing well in each ballgame.
"McNeese has been playing well, Nicholls at their place is always tough and Marshall has been playing so much better," Jones said. "They've really improved as a program. We can't have a letdown. This is a very important week for us and we need to do well this week.
"I'm excited about being back home for four of the five. But again, we're in the meat of the season now and we have to play well."
Tulane enters the week 18-8 overall and 2-1 in C-USA action after splitting the four road games last week. Tulane faced stiff completion all week, winning a pair of one-run games, dropping a one-run contest, and holding on to claim a 12-10, series-deciding victory on Sunday at UAB.
As a team, the Green Wave are hitting .291 with a .454 slugging percentage on the strength of 49 doubles, 11 triples and 25 home runs. Junior middle infielder Seth Henry (31-for-87) and junior catcher Jared Dyer (32-for-90) are tied for the team batting average lead with identical .356 marks, and junior centerfielder Aja Barto is close behind with at a .319 clip. Junior designated hitter Andrew Rodgers leads the team with seven home runs, freshman third baseman Rob Segedin has a club-best 26 RBI, and Barto is 14-of-15 in the stolen base category.
"Taylor has been throwing the ball better," Jones said. "We need to find out more about him so he'll get the start tomorrow night. Robby will get the start on Wednesday."
McNeese comes to town 8-17 on the year and 4-5 in Southland Conference play after dropping two of three games over the weekend to Southeastern Louisiana in Lake Charles, La. As a team, the Cowboys are hitting .274 with a .395 slugging percentage courtesy of 49 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs.
Taylor Freeman leads McNeese State with a .408 batting average while Shon Landry and Josh Cholley follow with averages of .361 and .333, respectively. Landy leads the team with five home runs and 25 RBI, and Cholley paces the club with five steals in six attempts.
Nicholls State, meanwhile, will play at UNO on Tuesday before hosting the Green Wave on Wednesday at Ray E. Didier Field. The Colonels enter the week 5-20 on the year and 1-8 in Southland Conference action after being swept by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over the weekend.
Keith Kulbeth leads Nicholls State with a .310 batting average while Brandt Boudreaux and Anthony Wray follow with respective marks of .294 and .291. Kulbeth, Boudreaux, Wray and Shane Barksdale each have one homer to tie for the team lead, Kulbeth, Boudreaux and Wray are tied for the club lead in RBI with 14 each, and Brett Cook is 7-for-9 in stolen bases.
While McNeese State has yet to determine their starting pitcher for Tuesday's game, Nicholls State announced that southpaw Justin Breaux will take the mound against the Wave on Wednesday. Breaux is 1-2 on the year with a 9.60 ERA and a .373 opponent batting average while striking out nine and walking 14 in 15.0 innings of work.
Following Wednesday's contest in Thibodaux, Tulane opens the C-USA weekend series against the Thundering Herd at 6 p.m. The two teams will play again on Saturday at 6 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. For ticket information to this week's ballgames, as well as future Green Wave athletic events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or log onto the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.