NEW ORLEANS — Two years ago, coach Rick Jones rolled the dice. And thus far this season, it’s coming up snake eyes for the Tulane baseball team.
An emphasis on pitching — or at least an emphasis on scholarship money on pitchers — has left the team short on quality and quantity among the position players. And when injuries occur, there’s a price to pay.
Such was the case Sunday when senior outfielder Brandon Boudreaux injured a biceps taking swings off the tee before an 8-3 loss to Notre Dame, completing a winless weekend for the Wave (3-4). It was the first time Tulane had been swept at home by a nonconference foe since 1997.
Boudreaux joined fellow senior outfielder Blake Crohan, who has been out since the opener with a shoulder injury, on the disabled list, depriving the Wave of two of its top three returning hitters on a team that’s struggling at the plate — posting a .229 batting average and averaging 2.6 runs.
Jones, whose team plays at Nicholls State (5-2) on Tuesday before hosting UNO (0-8) on Wednesday to start a stretch of 15 games in 21 days, doesn’t have a lot of options.
“That’s the way the game is played today,” he said. “We made decisions to give us more pitching depth, but that left us short in other areas. We’re getting good pitching. What we’ve got to do is combine that with good defense and, every opportunity we get to score one run, we score one run.”
There were close calls.
In the ninth inning of Friday’s 2-1 loss, Garrett Cannizaro twice narrowly missed homering down the right-field line before striking out. The Wave stranded 23 in the series.
“Those are the things that keep you from winning low-scoring games,” Jones said. “The day of the three-run homer is over. You bunt early to move men over and try to keep stretching the lead.”
Senior Tyler Mapes (1-1, 2.57 ERA), will start against Nicholls. Jones said he was uncertain about who or how many pitchers he would use against UNO, especially with a series at Alabama coming up this weekend.
“Our pitching will keep us in most games,” he said. “And we need more players swinging the bats better.
“Otherwise, we keep our fingers crossed and try to get our guys healthy as soon as possible.”