Looking for ‘good weekend’ Tulane returns home to face East Carolina

NEW ORLEANS — After two weekend Conference USA series on the road — with mixed results — the Tulane Green Wave is hoping for a stronger showing at home this weekend.

Tulane will host the East
Carolina Pirates at Turchin
Stadium for a three-game weekend baseball series, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The teams will meet again at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The Greenies have played the last two weekends on the road at Rice and at Southern Miss. This week, they followed that with a Tuesday road trip to
Lafayette, where Tulane defeated a solid Ragin’ Cajuns team 7-5.

The Wave hope to continue that success and bring its season record above .500 against The Pirates.

Tulane currently is 17-18, 4-5 in Conference USA play. East Carolina is 15-18, 1-5.

“We obviously need to have a good weekend,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said.

“The league is very bunched together. Had we won on Sunday, we would have been tied for first place. For us to be able to achieve our goals, we need to have a good weekend.”

Once again, Tulane will start with third-year sophomore Tony Rizzotti (5-3, 1.80 ERA), who has excelled as the Friday starter. This will be his ninth consecutive weekend-opening start. Last Friday, he pitched seven innings in a 3-2 victory to earn his fifth win of the season.

He held the Golden Eagles to three hits and struck out five. East Carolina is expected to throw right-handed sophomore Jeff Hoffman (3-4, 3.09) on Friday.

Senior right-hander Alex Byo (2-4, 3.08), a Parkview Baptist graduate, will start Saturday’s game. Byo has pitched 52.2 innings, striking out 32 and
walking 11. East Carolina will start redshirt freshman
David Lucroy (3-1, 1.96), who has
allowed nine earned runs in 41.1 innings this season and has struck out 44.

Sunday will see senior left-hander David Napoli (3-2, 1.60) against Pirates junior right-hander Ryan Williams (5-2).

Offensively, the Green Wave still is led by senior Brennan Middleton — another Parkview grad — who is hitting .319. As a team, Tulane is batting .241. East Carolina is hitting .270, led by Travis Watkins, who has a .310 average with 13 RBIs.