Aug 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University welcomed their students back to campus on Monday with the first day of classes, and 19 of those students will be new to the Green Wave baseball program.
The entire Tulane baseball squad sprinkled into New Orleans over the course of the last few weeks, and for the first time on Sunday, they assembled at the Wilson Center to meet with their coaches and other athletic department personnel. While many of them had seen the Milt J. "Mickey" Retif, Jr., Memorial Clubhouse and Greer Field at Turchin Stadium during their campus visits, they all had an opportunity to spend a significant amount of time at each location during their introductory meetings on Sunday.
The squad learned that they will begin fall practice on Sept. 24, nearly a month after beginning classes. With the culmination of fall practice, the team will hold their annual Green and Blue World Series, with exact dates yet to be determined.
Until then, the new student-athletes will acclimate themselves with the campus and the community in which they will call home for the next few years.
"This is a very exciting time knowing the talent level of this class," said Tulane head baseball coach Rick Jones.
While the Green Wave baseball program announced a 12-man signing class in January that included nine freshmen - shortstop Stephen Alemais, outfielder Grant Brown, infielder Hunter Hope, infielder Jake Willsey, catcher Jake Rogers and pitchers Sam Bjorngeld, Zach Flowers, J.P. France, Matt Horton and Corey Merrill - and two junior college transfers in infielders Tyler Wilson and Garrett Deschamp, the team has announced a slew of other names that will be joining the program.
Tyler Zamjahn (Harahan, La.), Andrew Culp (McLean, Va.), Hunter Williams (West Monroe, La.), Barry Buchowski (Moorestown, N.J.) and Lex Kaplan (St. Louis, Mo.) will join the squad as freshmen this year, while Troy Ward (Trinity University) and John Gandolfo (Seminole State College of Florida) will also don the Olive and Blue in 2014.
"This is a credit to Jake Gautreau and the relationships he built with these players and their families," added Jones. "This is the future of our program, and it is certainly, without question, the most talented class in a decade."
Kaplan (6-2, 175) was one of the top-100 outfielders in the nation - and the best overall in the state of Missouri - according to Perfect Game. The prospect out of Ladue Horton Watkins High School put up monster numbers during his junior year, batting .488 with eight home runs, six doubles, seven triples, 39 runs and 39 RBI. Kaplan also owns most of the school's single-season and career batting records, while also holding the records for most saves in a season (six) and career (nine). Lex Kaplan is also the younger brother of former Green Wave star Jon Kaplan, who played for the Greenies in the early 2000s.
Zamjahn (6-1, 175), a local product from Brother Martin High School, helped lead the Crusaders to the District 9-5A Championship during his senior year while also advancing to the state quarterfinals. The right-handed pitcher went 8-1 with 77 strikeouts and a 1.77 ERA in 55.1 innings during his senior year, earning the All-District Most Valuable Pitcher of the Year honors in the process. The Harahan, La., native also earned 5A All-State Honorable Mention honors in 2013. Zamjahn was ranked as the eighth-best right-handed pitcher in the state of Louisiana by Perfect Game.
Buchowski (6-2, 215) was ranked as the second-best catcher out of New Jersey by Perfect Game, and he helped St. Augustine Prep win the Cap-Atlantic League title while also advancing to the South Jersey State Finals. The Moorestown, N.J., native batted .434 with six home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 29 RBI while crossing home plate 29 times during his senior campaign. Buchowski helped his high school win their first state title in 2011. He owns the career records at St. Augustine Prep for hits (115), RBI (81) and batting average (.393).
Culp (6-3, 215) pitched and played first base at Maret High School in Washington, D.C. The McLean, Va., native recorded a single-season school record 96 strikeouts during his senior campaign, on his way to a 7-0 record and a 1.54 ERA. He helped lead Maret High School to back-to-back D.C. City Championships in 2012 and 2013. Culp earned Atlantic Regional All-American honorable mention status from Rawlings while also being named the 13th best right-handed pitcher out of Virginia.
Williams (5-11, 205) was a first baseman and catcher at West Monroe High School where he notched a .388 batting average with seven home runs, 34 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 2013. He earned first-team All-District 2-5A and All-Region honors during his senior year while leading West Monroe to a 24-13 record and a semifinals appearance in the state playoffs.
Ward (6-4, 215) comes to Tulane from Trinity University, where he played an integral part in the back end of the bullpen for a Trinity squad that finished 40-9 during his freshman year. The tall righty placed second on the team with three saves, while striking out 12 and walking none. He is originally from North Richland Hills, Texas, where he went 4-4 with 62 fanned batters and a 2.82 ERA in 59.2 innings during his senior year.
Gandolfo (6-0, 160) spent last year - his sophomore collegiate campaign - at the Seminole State College of Florida, where he batted .367 with five doubles, four doubles, 21 RBI and 14 stolen bases. Gandolfo earned First Team All-Conference honors for his work with the 36-14 Raiders. Prior to playing in the Sunshine State, Gandolfo roamed the outfield for Marshall during his freshman year. In 2012, the Franklin Lakes, N.J., native played in 35 games with 24 starts. He proved to be one of the top hitters on the team that year, batting .267, while also swiping five bases.
Coupled with the returning veterans that include All Conference USA Freshmen Ian Gibaut and Richard Carthon of a year ago, as well as designated hitter Andrew Garner; infielders Nick DiMaggio, Hunter Lapeyre and Bowen Woodson; outfielders Briggs Barrios and Max Goodman; utility players Tim Yandel and Matt Braud; and a pitching staff of Tyler Mapes, Kyle McKenzie, Brady Wilson, Randy LeBlanc, Alex Massey, Emerson Gibbs and Daniel Rankin, the 2014 Tulane Green Wave baseball team is sure to be one to watch.
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