April 24, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane baseball will return home over the weekend, as the squad will host non-conference opponent Wichita State in a three-game series at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Friday's game will begin at 6:30pm CT, while Saturday's tilt will start at 2pm CT. The series finale will begin at 1pm CT. All three games will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH. Live stats can be followed by clicking on the GameTracker links on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page.
The Green Wave have dropped their last three contests after defeating McNeese State last week in extra innings. Tulane travelled to Charlotte this past weekend and lost two games, 2-0 and 2-1, before the third game of the series was cancelled due to weather issues. On Tuesday, the Green Wave fell to No. 6 LSU in Baton Rouge, 6-0. On the season, Tulane now sits at 15-23 overall.
The Shockers, an NCAA Regional Team in 2013, have been up and down under new head coach Todd Butler. Before dropping an extra-inning game to Missouri on Tuesday, Wichita State rattled off four- straight wins, but that was coming off an eight-game losing streak. This season, the Shockers are 21-19 overall.
Wichita State boasts a team batting average of .288, led by Casey Gillaspie's .414 average that ranks in the top-ten in the NCAA. Gillaspie is also in the top ten in the NCAA in home runs with 10. He leads the team with 41 RBI, while as a whole, the Shockers have seven batters with 10 or more RBI on the season.
For Friday's matchup, Tulane will rely on freshman right-handed pitcher Corey Merrill on the mound. The Lutcher product had his finest outing in a Green Wave uniform last Thursday in Charlotte, as he pitched a career-high 7.1 innings, while allowing seven hits and just two runs - both off sacrifice flies - in a 2-0 loss to the 49ers. On the year, Merrill is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 30.0 innings, and he owns 20 strikeouts to just 14 walks.
Merrill will be countered by the Shockers' A.J. Ladwig, who leads the team in ERA (1.32), innings pitched (68.1) and complete games (two). Ladwig is 3-5 on the year with 46 strikeouts and 10 walks to his name.
Saturday will see the return of redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc, coming off one of his finest performances in his illustrious career. LeBlanc pitched a complete game last weekend against Charlotte, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out six, but was credited with the loss as the Green Wave lost 2-1. On the year, the Abita Springs, La., native owns a 3-4 record to go along with a miniscule 2.25 ERA in 64.0 innings of action. LeBlanc has rung up 51 batters this season while walking just 13.
The Shockers will send righty Cale Elam to the hill on Saturday, opposite LeBlanc. Elam is the team leader in strikeouts with 55, and he has only allowed 44 hits in 59.1 innings of work. Elam owns a 2.12 ERA and a record of 5-1 in nine starts.
Tulane has not yet named a starter for Sunday's matchup, but Wichita State will throw right-handed freshman Sam Tewes. The rookie leads the team in decisions with a 6-2 record, while posting a 3.08 ERA in 52.2 innings. He has allowed 50 hits, but has only struck out 25 batters while also walking 21.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools since the 2012 season, when the Green Wave travelled to Kansas in March, losing two of the three contests. The Shockers visited the Green Wave in 2011, and Tulane took two of three in that series. The only other meeting between the two programs came back on March 21, 1993, with the Green Wave defeating the Shockers 5-3 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.
Saturday's game will be Police Appreciation Day at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Police personnel can show their badges or IDs at the gate to receive free admission to the park.
On Sunday, it will be Academy Kids Day, where youngsters can stand next to their favorite players during the National Anthem as well as running the bases after the game between Tulane and Wichita State.
Single game tickets are available for each game. For more information on tickets, call 504-861-WAVE (9283), or visit the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first-floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.