Oct. 31, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - With a month of practice under their belts as a team, Tulane's baseball squad will split down the middle as they square off against themselves over the weekend, completing their fall practice with their annual Fall Ball World Series at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Team Blue will take on Team Green in a three-game weekend series at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium that is open to the public. Friday's contest will begin at 3:15pm CT, while Saturday's match will begin at 2:00pm CT. The final game of the series will start at 11:00am on Sunday.
A warm up period with batting and fielding practice will precede each start time by one hour. Fans are welcome to watch the practice session, as well.
The Tulane baseball coaches have had an ample amount of opportunity to see their players in action, including the 19 newcomers to the program. While the program has held intrasquads during three of the four weekends during fall practice, the Fall World Series will make the players step up their game a little.
"I always have mixed emotions about when fall ball is over because it is one of my favorite times of the year," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "We have had the opportunity to evaluate talent, get our system in and get repetitions in without the concern of having to get ready for an opponent. We have been able to focus on our team. It's just an exciting time for me always."
The rosters were selected on Tuesday, and while the coaching staff will be on hand to watch their product, each team will be managed by a crew of current players who are being held out of action while nursing injuries.
"Tyler obviously can't play during the fall, but he is a student of the game, and he is as excited about this as we are," mentioned Jones. "On the other side, I firmly believe that Briggs could be a (MLB) general manager one day. He isn't just one of the brightest people to ever come through this program, but he also has an extremely strong feel for the game."
Each manager has a bevy of talent at their disposal, with the Team Blue sporting nine position players and seven pitchers while the Team Green has the rights to eight position players and eight pitchers.
Each team has named a starting rotation, as well. For the Team Blue, left-handed sophomore Jordan Gross will get the start on Friday, after making the roster during walk-on tryouts earlier in the fall. He will go head-to-head with another lefty in Team Green senior starter Brady Wilson.
Two local freshmen will get to showcase their talents on the hill on Sunday, with right-hander J.P. France from Archbishop Shaw taking the mound for Team Blue and Lutcher High School product Corey Merrill going for Team Green.
"Everyone will really get equal time," said Jones of the pitching staff. "We are trying to establish some type of rotation and certain roles for certain times, but we also understand that there are some of our guys that we will count on who will not be pitching this weekend because of injuries. Our staff completely changes if they are all healthy."
Six of the nine position players for Team Blue are newcomers, as junior infielder Garrett Deschamp and junior outfielder John Gandolfo will team up with freshmen Hunter Hope, Barry Buchowski, Grant Brown and Hunter Williams. Senior infielder Bowen Woodson, sophomore utility player Matt Braud and sophomore outfielder Hunter Lapeyre will also suit up for Team Blue.
"To manage in the Fall World Series a great opportunity," said Mapes. "We have Randy LeBlanc on the mound on Saturday, and he has been a horse during fall practice. We'll see what happens. Right now, though, I don't even want to see (opposing manager) Briggs (Barrios). He's the opposition right now."
Says LeBlanc, who will take the ball for Team Blue on Saturday: "It's on."
On the other side of things, Barrios will be able to use the likes of senior Andrew Garner, senior Max Goodman and sophomore Tim Yandel in the field, pairing them with newcomers Stephen Alemais, Jake Rogers, Lex Kaplan, Jake Willsey and Tyler Wilson.
In terms of arms, Team Green will have freshmen Zach Flowers, Sam Bjorngjeld and Tyler Zamjahn alongside returning pitcher Dan Rankin. Yandel, however, will see some time on the mound, as he has pitched well during fall practice after spending his freshman year at second base, third base, left field, right field and designated hitter.
"I'm pretty excited about (managing) since I haven't been able to play this fall," said Barrios. "This gives me the opportunity to get in the game a little bit. I'm just looking for everyone to play hard this weekend. We have a solid set of position players and pitchers, as well as some young guys. We have Corey Merrill starting Game 3 for us, and Emerson Gibbs starting Game 2, so hopefully one of those guys can clinch the series for us."
Results from each contest will be posted on TulaneGreenWave.com after the conclusion of each game, as well as a full box score.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.