Pivotal Conference USA Matchup for Baseball as they Travel to Southern Miss

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti will get the start on Friday night
Redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti will get the start on Friday night

April 4, 2013

Tulane Notes vs. Southern Miss Get Acrobat Reader

NEW ORLEANS - For the second week in a row, Tulane's baseball team will hit the road for a weekend Conference USA matchup, this time against Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The opening game of the series is set for 6pm CT, and will be broadcast on WRBH 88.3 FM. The final game of the series on Sunday at 1pm CT will also be on WRBH 88.3 FM. Saturday's 2pm CT game will be on 106.1 The Ticket. Live stats will be made available throughout the weekend on TulaneGreenWave.com.

Last weekend, the Greenies travelled to Houston for a three-game series against Rice, winning the series finale after dropping the first two. The weekend prior to that saw the Green Wave take two of three against Memphis in their C-USA opener.

Earlier this week, Tulane dropped a game to Nicholls State for the second time on the season by a score of 5-3. On the year, Tulane sits at 15-16 overall with a 3-3 record in conference play.

Southern Miss was set to play LSU this past Tuesday at Zephyrs Field, but the game was cancelled due to inclement weather. Last weekend, the Golden Eagles took two of three games in Orlando from UCF. During the opening weekend of conference play, Southern Miss lost two of three to Rice. Despite starting the season in the top 30 in most major polls, the Golden Eagles have slipped to 11-16 overall with a 3-3 record in C-USA.

This weekend will showcase some very fine pitching matchups, as Tulane will throw redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti, senior Alex Byo and senior David Napoli on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Southern Miss will counter with a southpaw and two righties, as they will use Jake Drehoff on Friday, Andrew Pierce - a preseason All-Conference USA pick - on Saturday and Conor Fisk during the series finale.

Rizzotti pitched very well in a losing effort last Friday against Rice, pitching his second complete game and striking out four. On the season, the righty is 4-3 with a 1.87 ERA. He has pitched in 53.0 innings, notching 37 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Opponents are only hitting .228 against him. Drehoff won his first contest of the season last Friday, defeating UCF 4-1 during 8.0 innings on the mound. The left-handed pitcher struck out six and allowed only four hits and two walks during the contest. On the year, Drehoff has made seven starts, notching a 1-3 record and a 3.93 ERA. In 34.1 innings, he has struck out 31 while walking 16.

Byo pitched 5.1 innings last Saturday and left the game with the lead before Tulane's bullpen allowed three additional runs to the Owls in Tulane's 6-3 loss. On the year, Byo has pitched very well, despite his 2-3 record. The Baton Rouge, La., native owns a 2.58 ERA in 45.1 innings of action, striking out 28 while walking only nine. Pierce has been strong for the Golden Eagles this season, going 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 52.0 innings. He has posted 51 strikeouts - fifth overall in C-USA - and has walked eight.

Sunday's matchup will feature Napoli, who has made three straight Sunday starts - all wins - after only making one other start on the year. Napoli pitched 7.0 innings last weekend in his longest outing of the season, allowing only three hits to Rice in Tulane's lone win of the series. During his senior campaign, the Newman High graduate is 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in 25.2 innings. He has struck out 22 and walked 14. Fisk earned his second win on the season after pitching 6.0 innings against the Knights on Sunday, striking out seven. On the year, Fisk is 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA, striking out 22 and walking eight in 21.0 innings.

At the plate, Tulane is batting .245 as a team while Southern Miss is batting just a few points higher at .259. Tulane senior Brennan Middleton has continued his hot streak, batting .336 which is ranked seventh in the conference. Senior Sean Potkay's average has dipped a bit over the past few weeks, coming into the series hitting at a clip of .277. Senior Brandon Boudreaux's batting average has continued to climb, as he now stands at .269. Boudreaux was 2-for-5 with three RBIs in Tulane's 5-3 loss against Nicholls State on Tuesday.

Southern Miss features three starters who are batting above .300 in Chase Fowler (.354), Mason Robbins (.347) and Isaac Rodriguez (.307). On the base paths, Dillon Day has swiped nine bags to tie for the lead in Conference USA.

Scott Berry is the skipper for the Golden Eagles, and he is 118-83 in his fourth season as the head coach. Prior to being named the head coach, Berry served as an assistant with the school from 2001-09.

Tulane's Jones is 47-28 against Southern Miss as head coach of the Green Wave. Last year, Tulane swept the series that was played in early May at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Overall, Tulane leads the all-time series 90-53-1. The two teams have played each other since 1949.

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