Tulane makes rare trip to Cajun Country

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK. Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Chase Traffica throws against Southern earlier this season. Traffica (3-1, 6.10 ERA) will take the mound against Tulane at 6 p.m. Tuesday at M.L. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK. Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Chase Traffica throws against Southern earlier this season. Traffica (3-1, 6.10 ERA) will take the mound against Tulane at 6 p.m. Tuesday at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

It’s been a long time since the Tulane baseball team has
headed west to Cajun Country.

Tuesday, the Green Wave hopes to make up for lost time.

For the first time since 2003, Tulane will take the trip on Interstate 10 to M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field for a 6 p.m. game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Last year’s scheduled game in Lafayette was rained out. The Cajuns later made the trip to New Orleans, where they lost 7-3.

This season, the weather promises to cooperate. The Ragin’ Cajuns look to be ready. The question is, will Tulane be ready?

The Green Wave is coming off a weekend series at Southern Miss, where the team dropped two of three games, including Sunday’s pitcher’s duel — one in which David Napoli allowed only three hits, but was upstaged by Southern Miss pitcher Conor Fisk, who threw a complete-game two-hitter in a 2-0 win.

That dropped the Wave to
16-18 overall and 4-5 in
Conference USA play.

Tulane also has struggled this season against in-state opponents. The Green Wave lost last week to Nicholls State (5-3), the week before that to LSU (14-1) and before that to UNO (5-4) — all at home.

Louisiana-Lafayette, meanwhile, has won four of its last five games, including two of three against Troy in Sun Belt Conference play. Although
Tulane has won six of the last eight meetings against ULL, the Cajuns lead the series 43-41. They also are 18-3 on their home field this season and have won 11 of their last 12 games at home.

Senior Brennan Middleton leads the Wave with a .324 batting average. He is second in Conference USA with 44 hits. Senior Sean Potkay has 11 doubles, which ties him for the league lead and 22 RBIs, which ties him for fifth. Freshman Richard Carthon was the team’s leading hitter last week at .385.

Third-year sophomore Randy LeBlanc (0-2 IP, 6.52 ERA) is
expected make his third start this season for Tulane on Tuesday. The Cajuns will counter with junior Chase Traffica (3-1, 6.10).

Ryan Leonards hit .571 against Troy, giving him a
season average of .395. Leadoff hitter Dex Kjerstad went 3-for-5 on Sunday with two homers and four RBIs.