Brennan Middleton Leads the Team and Ranks Second in Conference USA with a .363 Batting Average
May 16, 2012
5/17/2012 - 5/19/2012
Marshall Thundering Herd (16-35, 4-17 C-USA) at Tulane Green Wave (35-17, 12-9 C-USA)
First Pitch: 6:30 (Thur.), 6:30 (Fri.), 1:00 (Sat.)
Stadium: Greer Field at Turchin Stadium (New Orleans)
Series: Tulane Leads Series, 14-6-1
Looking at the Green Wave
With just one week left in the regular season the Green Wave has already topped their win mark from each of the last three seasons and will look to grab their highest finish in Conference USA since the 2009 season. Tulane is 35-17 overall and 12-9 in Conference USA play, sitting in 3rd in the standings.
The offense continues to swing the bat well and has posted ten or more hits in each of their last five games and is 4-1 in those contests. Tulane has won six of its last seven games, with their only loss coming in extra innings at Houston last weekend. In those games, Tulane is hitting .321 as a team, with Brandon Boudreaux hitting .632 and Blake Crohan hitting .478 with a team-high six runs scored. Jeremy Schaffer has reached base in 13 of his 31 plate appearances and driven in a team-best eight RBIs down the stretch for TU.
On the season, Brennan Middleton took over the batting average lead from Nick Schneeberger last weekend, entering the weekend hitting .363 with a team-high 11 stolen bases. Schneeberger is batting .358 with three games left in the regular season, carrying a team-best 73 hits. Schaffer paces the team with 48 RBIs, while Boudreaux has crossed the plate 55 times.
Tulane's offense leads C-USA in nine offensive categories, while ranking second in three more.
David Napoli came through with eight innings of work on Saturday at Houston to help the Green Wave even the series and eventually claim their fourth road series victory of the season. Napoli allowed on earned run in the outing and is now 7-2 on the season with a team-best 2.40 earned run average in 82 2/3 innings of work.
D.J. Ponder continues to lead the bullpen that has a combined ERA of 2.19 and is 14-3 on the season. Ponder is 1-0 on the year with ten saves and a 0.63 ERA in 42 2/3 innings of work. The senior has allowed just five total runs to score all season - three his own and two inherited runners - and has 34 strikeouts.
Looking at the Thundering Herd
Marshall enters the weekend after winning one of three games from UCF last weekend at home before dropping a midweek decision to Radford. Overall, the Thundering Herd own a 16-35 record with a 4-17 ledger in Conference USA play.
The starting pitching has been solid for the Herd with Mike Mason and Aaron Blair each carrying earned run averages of under 4.00. As a staff, the Herd owns a 4.69 ERA with 371 strikeouts in 441 2/3 innings. They have walked just 186 and limit opponents to a .280 batting average.
Mason owns a team-leading four wins on the year and carries a 3.81 ERA in 75 2/3 innings of work, while Blair limits opponents to a .236 batting average thanks to 77 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings.
Offensively, the Thundering Herd carries a .256 batting average and are averaging 4.9 runs per game. Nathan Gomez is the lone Marshall player to carry a batting average of over .300 this season, entering the weekend with a .313 clip. He paces the squad with 37 RBIs, 32 runs scored and 18 extra base hits. Isaac Ballou has a team-best .429 on-base percentage with 52 hits, 40 walks and 20 stolen bases.
Inside the Series
The Green Wave and Thundering Herd didn't meet until Marshall joined Conference USA in 2006 and Tulane won the first eight meetings, from 2006-2008. Marshall won four of five meetings between 2008-2009 - with the other a travel curfew tie in 2008.
The Olive and Blue have won six of the last eight meetings, falling in the series finale in 2010 and dropping the middle game of their series at Marshall last season.
In New Orleans, Tulane owns a 6-4-1 mark, while the Green Wave is 7-2 in games played in Charleston, W.Va. The two teams have meet just once on a neutral site with Tulane winning 12-1 in the 2006 Conference USA Tournament hosted by Rice University.