May 1, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - In order to keep their chances of making the Conference USA Championship in Hattiesburg, Miss., alive, the Tulane baseball squad will have to secure wins against the host team of the tournament at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium over the weekend, as Southern Miss will visit New Orleans in a pivotal C-USA matchup for both teams.
Friday's contest will begin at 6:30pm CT, while Saturday's will start at 2pm CT. The Sunday 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 for all three contests will be made available through GameTracker links on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page.
Tulane comes into the contest with an overall record of 18-24, and they sit in 11th place in the league standings with a 6-13 record. Southern Miss, on the other hand, sits at second place in the conference with a record of 14-7. Overall, the Golden Eagles are 27-19.
Fortunately, the Green Wave are playing their best baseball of the season as of late, as they are 3-2 in their last five games, having picked up two wins against Wichita State in walk off fashion last weekend before pummeling in-state rival Nicholls State on Tuesday, 8-1, behind an outstanding pitching performance from redshirt sophomore Alex Massey, as well as 12 hits - two of which were doubles and one of which was the first-career home run from freshman Stephen Alemais.
Senior outfielder/designated hitter Andrew Garner is hitting .353 in the team's last five games, while freshman Jake Willsey is batting .333 and junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp is hitting at a clip of .318. In eight at-bats, Alemais is hitting .500. On the entire season, the Green Wave are hitting .227, and are led by sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon's .284 clip.
Southern Miss is also 3-2 in their last five games, but all three wins have come against teams ranked in the top-15. The Golden Eagles were victorious at No. 8 Alabama on April 22, 6-3 before hosting No. 11 Rice. While the Owls took the series, two games to one, Southern Miss picked up an 8-6 victory on April 27. On Wednesday night, the Golden Eagles travelled to Oxford, Miss., to hand No. 10 Ole Miss a 7-6 loss.
The Golden Eagles are hitting .244 as a team, and are led by Matt Durst's .294 average. Tim Lynch ranks second on the squad with a batting average of .290. The Golden Eagles have 21 home runs as a team, led by Durst's five.
On Friday, Tulane will send freshman Corey Merrill to the mound for his third-straight weekend-opening start. Last Friday, Merrill tossed a career-high 7.0 innings of four-hit ball, while allowing no runs in addition to striking out five. On the season, the righty from Lutcher, La., owns an 0-3 record to go along with his 3.65 ERA in 37.0 innings of work. Merrill has allowed 35 hits while striking out 25 and walking 17 on the year.
Merrill will be opposed by righty Conor Fisk. On the season, Fisk is 4-2 with a 2.63 ERA in nine starts. The senior leads the team in innings pitched with 61.2 and strikeouts with 62. He has walked 18 while allowing just 49 hits.
Redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc will take the hill on Saturday. The native of Abita Springs, La., pitched 6.0 innings and allowed three runs in a no-decision last Saturday against the Shockers. However, he leads the team with a 2.44 ERA, 70.0 innings pitched and 55 strikeouts. LeBlanc owns a 3-4 record.
Righty Christian Talley will face the Green Wave on Saturday for Southern Miss. Talley has notched 55 strikeouts in 61.1 innings, while walking just eight. He owns an ERA of 2.20 and a record of 3-3.
On Sunday, redshirt senior Tyler Mapes will get the ball for the Green Wave. Mapes pitched in a limited role as a starter last Sunday against Wichita State after getting the midweek start that week at No. 6 LSU. On the season, the elder statesman from Plano, Texas, is 4-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 58.2 innings. Mapes has fanned 44 batters while walking just nine.
Righty Cody Carroll will take the mound for the Golden Eagles on Sunday, opposite Mapes. Carroll has made eight starts on the season, and he has a record of 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA. In 37.0 innings, Carroll has 29 strikeouts to his name while walking 15 and allowing 39 hits.
Tulane owns the overall series record between the two teams, 91-56. However, the Golden Eagles have won the last three contests, which all came last season. After the Green Wave took the first game of the regular season series between the two teams in Hattiesburg last season, the Golden Eagles posted the next two victories to win the series while also defeating the Green Wave 10-7 in May at the C-USA Championship in Houston. The record is even at five games apiece during the last ten games played in the series.
Saturday will be Mother-Daughter Day at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Fans can purchase one adult ticket and receive one free youth ticket.
On Sunday, Academy Sports Kids Day will return to the ball park. Children will be able to stand next to their favorite players during the National Anthem before the game, and after the game, they will be able to run the base paths.
Also on Sunday, should the Green Wave score four runs, fans will receive a Cane's Challenge voucher - valid at local, participating Cane's restaurants - that will be good for a buy one, get one free box combo.
Single game tickets are available for the weekend contests. 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.