NEW ORLEANS — For the University of New Orleans baseball team, this season is all about challenges.
Virtually homeless as their stadium undergoes a major renovation, conference-less for the time being, and struggling through a brutal schedule and a string of injuries, the Privateers don’t have much to hang their hats on.
Tulane hasn’t exactly had an easy ride this season either, with a myriad of injuries and some less-than-stellar efforts on the field.
So don’t try to tell either team that Tuesday’s game between the crosstown foes is meaningless.
UNO (3-18) will travel to Turchin Stadium at 3 p.m. to take on the Green Wave (12-10) in the second game of the First NBC Bank Cup series.
Tulane won the first game of the series 5-3 on Feb. 27. UNO is hoping to even things up Tuesday.
For Tulane, Tuesday’s game is a chance to string together a three-game win streak before beginning conference play next weekend against Memphis. Finally beginning to see some players come back from injuries, the Green Wave won two of three against Texas-San Antonio last weekend.
But for UNO, it’s about much more. Relocated to the recently upgraded Wesley Barrow Stadium on the Lakefront, the Privateers are in the middle of a 13-game road stretch. They are currently on a four-game losing streak, coming off of Sunday’s 13-3 loss at Houston.
Competing as an independent, the Privateers have no conference championship for which to contend. They will enter the Southland Conference next season.
After a 0-14 start, UNO is 3-18.
“You see the record, and it is what it is,” UNO coach Bruce Peddie said. “Look, no matter how this thing plays out, Tulane-UNO is big for both teams. Absolutely, we’re playing for pride.
“With everything we’ve got going on with us, it’s a daily pride thing.”
Before its current four-game skid, the Privateers picked up wins over McNeese State and Alcorn State twice.
“They’re playing better,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “I know they’ll be ready to play.”
Peddie singled out the recent play of left fielder Reece Kanter, one of three Privateers who got two hits in the first game against the Wave. Kanter has gone 11-for-26 (.423) over the past 10 days.
“He’s really swinging the bat well,” Peddie said.
Peddie said the likely starter for Tuesday’s game will be freshman left-hander Stephen Potter (3.86 ERA, 2.1 innings) of Central Lafourche, who is still working his way back from an injury.
Tulane has tapped freshman Emerson Gibbs for his second start of the season. Gibbs pitched 5.1 innings against Southeastern Louisiana last week, giving up five hits, one earned run and striking out five.
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