Tulane hopes to give fans something to cheer about

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELDLSU's Jacoby Jones forces Tulane runner Andrew Garner out at second base in the second inning during Tuesday's game at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. The Tigers won 14-1 in eight innings.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELDLSU's Jacoby Jones forces Tulane runner Andrew Garner out at second base in the second inning during Tuesday's game at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans. The Tigers won 14-1 in eight innings.

Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones acknowledges that it isn’t easy being a Green Wave fan. Not these days.

Not when the team has lost four of its past six games and is 15-15 on the season. And not when the Wave lost two of three games to Rice after walking in the go-ahead run Thursday, leaving bases loaded in the ninth inning Friday, and after taking a 7-1 lead had to hold on for a 7-6 win Saturday.

“Following our program is not for the faint of heart,” he said.

The next cardio challenge is a nonconference game against in-state rival Nicholls State on Tuesday. The Colonels (14-15) will travel to Turchin Stadium a 6:30 p.m. start.

Tulane will be looking to avenge its earlier 6-5 loss to the Colonels in Thibodaux on Feb. 26. Tulane leads the series 54-23. Nicholls is coming off an 0-3 weekend performance against Southland Conference opponent Southeastern Louisiana.

“They played well against us the last time, and we don’t expect them to do anything less this time,” Jones said of the Colonels. “We just didn’t play well against them.”

Jones agreed that Tulane has had mixed success against its state opponents this season. So far this season the Green Wave has lost to LSU, split with UNO and Northwestern, and gone 2-1 against Southeastern.

Jones points to the multitude of injuries to his pitching staff this season for his team’s inconsistent play.

“We’ve just had so many injuries to our pitching staff, we just haven’t been able to be as strong on the mound as we’ve wanted to be,” Jones said. “Especially in those midweek and Sunday games. We’ve had to try to use some different people to try to make up for that.”

Tuesday’s game is expected to be a battle between a pair of freshmen. Tulane is expected to start right-hander Daniel Rankin (1-0, 3.43 ERA). Nicholls will start left-hander Grant Borne (1-0, 2.78 ERA).

Leading the Green Wave’s offense is Brennan Middleton. He is hitting .342 with five doubles. Sean Potkay is hitting .277 with 21 RBIs.

Nicholls out-hit Southeastern in two of its three games and has had more than 10 hits in its past six games — but still went 1-5. The Colonels are led by Matt Richard, who leads with team with a .331 batting average. Phillip Lyons is on a 12-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in his past 16 games. Each has 11 stolen bases.