Final Regular-Season Conference USA Road Trip in Store for Baseball at UAB

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Junior infielder Garrett Deschamp is hitting .429 in the last eight games, and he leads the team with 12 hits
Junior infielder Garrett Deschamp is hitting .429 in the last eight games, and he leads the team with 12 hits

May 8, 2014

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NEW ORLEANS - Riding a three-game winning streak for just the second time this season, the Tulane baseball squad will enter enemy territory over the weekend as they make their final regular-season Conference USA road trip to play a three-game series against UAB at Young Memorial Field in Birmingham, Ala.

The Green Wave will play at 6:30pm CT on Friday, followed by a 2pm CT tilt on Saturday. The final game of the series will be on Sunday at 1pm CT.

Live stats can be followed for all three games by clicking on the `live stats' link on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page. All three games will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.

The Green Wave started the season 6-0, but had not put together three wins in a row until this past week when they took the final two games of a series against Southern Miss in addition to picking up a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday night. While the Green Wave are 21-25 on the season, including an 8-14 record in league play, they are also 6-2 in their last eight contests.

In those eight games, Tulane is hitting .270 as a team and is led by freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais, who is hitting at a blistering clip of .435 with 10 RBI. He also leads the team in extra base hits across that period, as he has three doubles, one triple and one home run. Junior infielder Garrett Deschamp is hitting .429 in the last eight games, and he leads the team with 12 hits.

Freshman outfielder Grant Brown (.391 and three doubles), freshman catcher Jake Rogers (.308 and two doubles) and senior outfielder Andrew Garner (.296) have all put up solid numbers in the Green Wave's last eight games.

UAB recorded a walk-off win against Samford on Wednesday night by a score of 4-3 in 13 innings. The win extended the Blazers current winning-streak to seven games, as they swept C-USA opponent Charlotte last weekend after taking all three contests against Marshall the weekend before. On the season, UAB is 31-16 overall with a league record of 16-8.

On the season, the Blazers are hitting .262, with Griffin Gum leading the way with a .297 average. Jeff Schalk leads the team in home runs and RBI with four and 25, respectively.

Tulane will send freshman Corey Merrill, redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc and redshirt senior Tyler Mapes - all right-handed pitchers - to face the Blazers in the three-game series, respectively.

Merrill has been outstanding as a rookie, but has pitched the last three outings, totaling 21.1 innings, without any run support. The product from Lutcher fanned six batters in 7.0 frames last Friday against Southern Miss, and on the season, he has punched out 31 opposing hitters. In 44.0 innings, Merrill is 0-4 with a 3.68 ERA.

LeBlanc leads the pitching staff in starts (12), innings pitched (77.0) and strikeouts (59). The righty from Abita Springs, La., owns a 4-4 record with a 2.57 ERA. Last Saturday, he struck out four and walked one while allowing six hits in a 5-3 win over Southern Miss.

Mapes is coming off his finest performance of his career, and he was honored by the league offices on Monday as the Co-Pitcher of the Week. He notched his first-career complete-game shutout, going all 9.0 innings in a 3-0 win over the Golden Eagles while striking out five and walking two. The Plano, Texas, native leads the starting rotation with an ERA of 2.53. He is 5-4 on the campaign.

UAB's weekend rotation owns the third-lowest ERA in the nation with three starters with eight or more starts. The trio of Chase Mallard, Alex Luna and Johnny Lieske own a combined-ERA of 1.69.

Mallard will get the start on Friday, as the Blazer's ace owns the lowest ERA of the three with a clip of 1.24. The senior has started 12 games and totaled 87.0 innings while allowing just 57 hits. He has posted 82 strikeouts and 19 walks on the year.

Luna, a junior, is 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA in 12 starts. In 69.2 innings, the righty has allowed 57 hits while walking only 11 and fanning 48.

Lieske is 4-2 with a 2.39 ERA in a team-leading 13 starts. The redshirt junior has racked up 67.2 innings, while allowing 52 hits. He is second on the team in strikeouts with 54, but he has walked 38.

Tulane owns the all-time series against the Blazers, having won 41 of the 59 contests between the two schools. The two teams have split the last ten meetings right down the middle.

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