April 25, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After coming off their first bye weekend during the 20 year tenure of head coach Rick Jones, the Tulane baseball squad will travel to Charleston, W.Va., for a three-game weekend series against Conference USA foe Marshall this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The series will be played in Appalachian Power Park, home of the West Virginia Power, a Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Friday and Saturday games of the series will begin at 6:05pm CT, while Sunday's contest will begin at 9am CT. Fans can listen to the Friday and Saturday tilts on 88.3 FM while the final game of the series will be broadcast on 106.1 The Ticket. Live stats will be made available through TulaneGreenWave.com.
Due to potential inclement weather in Charleston, W. Va., game times may be changed. Updates can be found on TulaneGreenWave.com, and on Twitter at @GreenWaveBSB.
The Green Wave (20-21, 5-7) is coming off a loss to LSU, the second ranked team in the nation, on Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La. In that contest, the Greenies led 2-1 after the top of the sixth before LSU tacked on three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead once and for all. Before last weekend's bye, Tulane played two other in-state rivals - Louisiana-Monroe and New Orleans - and notched wins in both games.
The Thundering Herd (15-24, 4-8) defeated Ohio, 4-2, in Beckley, W.Va., on Wednesday evening. Last weekend, Marshall visited Orlando for a three-game series against UCF, dropping two of three in the process. Prior to the opening game win in the UCF series, Marshall had lost five straight, including being swept by Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti will open the series on the mound for the Green Wave as he has done all season long. The Arlington, Texas, native pitched 8.2 innings in a no decision during his last outing on April 12 against East Carolina. In that contest, the righty allowed two earned runs on eight hits while striking out four. On the season, Rizzotti owns a 5-3 record to go along with his 1.83 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched. He has recorded 46 strikeouts while only walking 15. Opponents are only batting .220 against him.
Marshall will counter Rizzotti with lefty Wayland Moore. Last week, Moore got a no decision after pitching 5.0 innings and striking out two UCF Knights in Marshall's 5-4 win. On the season, Moore has posted a 2-1 record with a 3.77 ERA in 28.2 innings. He has recorded 29 strikeouts while walking only eight.
On Saturday, senior Alex Byo will make his tenth start of the season, after a no decision during his last outing on April 13 against ECU where he pitched 6.2 innings in a Tulane victory. Byo was lifted after allowing seven hits and three earned runs, and the Greenies went on to win that contest in extra innings. On the year, the Baton Rouge native has a record of 2-4 to go along with his 3.19 ERA in 59.1 innings. Byo has walked 15 on the year while striking out 35.
The Greenies will send lefty senior David Napoli to the mound on Sunday after he tied his career high in strikeouts with eight during his last start against ECU on April 14. In that game, Napoli pitched his second straight game of 8.0 innings. The New Orleans native is currently second in the entire nation in hits allowed per nine innings, allowing only 4.32 over the course of a complete game. On the year, Napoli is 3-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 41.2 innings. He has only allowed 20 hits on the campaign.
Due to the aforementioned weather issues the Green Wave could face, Marshall has yet to determine who will pitch the second and third games of the series. However, Marshall's Aaron Blair will more than likely make one of those starts, as he leads the Thundering Herd in starts (nine), wins (five), innings pitched (55.2), strikeouts (60) and opponent's batting average (.177). Either Chase Boster or Michael Taylor, who are tied for second on the team with eight starts on the campaign, could the other start. Boster came out of the pen twice last weekend, and Taylor earned the loss in Marshall's 11-0 defeat at the hands of UCF. Boster is 2-4 with a 7.03 ERA on the year, while Taylor is 3-4 with a 3.48 ERA.
For the first time on the season, Tulane does not boast a hitter with a batting average over .300, as senior Brennan Middleton's average dropped to .292 after the tilt against LSU. However, senior Garrett Cannizaro has been as hot as it can get over the last five games, as he has posted a batting average of .550. Fellow senior Tucker Oakley is right on his heels during the last five games, as he has a batting average of .368 during that time frame. Both have notched hits in five straight games, while senior Brandon Boudreaux has a four-game hitting streak to his name.
Marshall is led at the dish by Issac Ballou, who is hitting .315. Andrew Dundon is the only other hitter who has an average above .300 at .312. As a team, the Thundering Herd is batting .266. They only have one more home run on the season than the Greenies. Only Nathan Gomez - who has two - has more than one round tripper.
Marshall's head coach is Jeff Waggoner, who is in his seventh season leading the Thundering Herd. He has posted a 152-215-1 record all-time at the school.
The Greenies hold the all-time lead against Marshall, 16-7-1. Last season Tulane took the series by winning two of three against the Thundering Herd at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.