Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tulane Beats #3 LSU in 3-2 Thriller

Credit: @katielentz on Twitter
Don't really know what else to put here. A strong effort on the mound allowed Tulane baseball to topple the #3 LSU Tigers 3-2 after 11 innings of baseball.

This is, without a doubt, the biggest upset that comes to mind since I started following the Green Wave. The LSU baseball powerhouse was unable to manufacture a run late in the game, the Wave ultimately capitalized with a two-out double followed by a game winning RBI by Richard Carthon.

That was the dagger, for sure. In a weird bit of cosmic irony though, it was former Tulane pitcher and LSU transfer Nate Fury who gave up the game winning run.

Kyle McKenzie, who entered the game as a closer, pitched four dominant, scoreless innings to keep the Green Wave's upset hopes alive. In the top of the 11th, he downed the final two batters on strikeouts to finish his outing.

This game was an absolute battle for the Green Wave. We didn't produce a single hit from the 4th until the 11th inning. However, the team stood strong, the pitching held up, and the Green Wave hung around long enough to pull out a momentous victory.

And for the first time since 2010, the Bayou Bengals will head back on I-10 without a win.
See you at the Box on April 22nd for round two.
Read More

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Baseball Improves to 7-1 with Mid-Week Win at Nicholls

Tyler Mapes made the start for Tulane's first mid-week contest of the year

[First of all, I’d like to apologize for my absence and lack of baseball coverage for the past week (has it really been that long?). Midterms were calling! I’ll be more consistent from now on, promise.]

Tulane baseball recorded its seventh win of the season and improved to 7-1 on the year Tuesday night in Thibodaux as it took on in-state rival Nicholls State for the first mid-week contest of the season.

The game started off slowly for both teams on the humid south Louisiana evening, and neither team recorded a hit until the fifth inning when Stephen Alemais broke the silence with a two out single up the middle. Jake Rogers drew a walk in his turn at the plate, followed by another single from Carthon that would result in Alemais being thrown out at home to end the inning. Despite the excitement, through five innings, both teams came up without any runs on the board.

This would be the closest either squad came to scoring a run for most of the night, as the Green Wave put together two more hits in the next few innings from John Gandolfo and Hunter Hope but came up empty, leaving runners stranded both times.

Nicholls threatened several times throughout the game, receiving bases on two hits, a Green Wave error and a hit by pitch from Mapes, but ended up stranding three runners and losing one to a seeming effortless throw down to second by Jake Rogers that gunned down an attempted stolen base - NOBODY steals on Rogers!

(Curtis Akey - the super awesome baseball media guy - affectionately refers to Rogers as “the cannon from Canyon.” Truer words have never been spoken! This kid has an ARM!)

It wasn’t until the eighth inning that Tulane recorded the first and only run of the night in the low scoring ballgame. Rogers, who had only four hits prior to tonight’s contest, blasted a hard-hit double to the center field wall to start the Green Wave off in the inning. The speedy Carthon delivered on one of his familiar bunt-for-single at bats and made it to second on a throwing error that brought Rogers in to score. A HELLUVA HULLABALOO!

Tulane drew an impressive crowd at Ray E. Didier Field, nearly filling the first base side bleachers (they’re stingy with chairbacks in Thibodaux) and giving the taunting Kappa Sigs of Nicholls in right field a run for their money when it came to cheering on their favorite team. The frat crowd made things interesting in the first low-scoring game of the year, heckling Green Wave players both in the field and at the plate. They picked Tyler “T-Willy” Wilson as their player of the game, mercilessly taunting today’s starting first baseman throughout the night (Bowen Woodson experienced back tightness before the game and sat tonight’s contest out). The frat stars were even classy enough to congratulate Wilson after the game!

Redshirt senior Tyler Mapes got the ball and made his second start of the year for the Green Wave Tuesday, going seven shutout innings and only giving up one hit while striking out five. Sophomore Daniel Rankin replaced Mapes in the seventh and, despite giving the Colonels their second hit of the night, preserved the Tulane lead going into the ninth.

Andrew Garner came in from right field to close the game for the Green Wave in his first mound appearance of the season and sat the Colonels down in order, delivering Tulane its second shutout victory of the year (7-0 vs UAPB Feb. 14). Garner will act as the primary closer for the Green Wave until sophomore Ian Gibaut, who was also sidelined for most of the fall, is healthy.

Unfortunately, head coach Rick Jones didn’t have much to say about when Gibaut would be back.

“I wish I could tell you [the timeframe for Gibaut’s return],” Jones said after the game. “I thought he’d have been back by now but I don’t think it’s close yet.”

But for a team that is so deep in the bullpen, the Green Wave pitching staff should be able to hold down the fort until Gibaut makes it back to the mound.

The Green Wave will return to action on Friday night (?) for a three game home series against Sacred Heart. Athletics is hoping the first pitch will go out at 6:30 p.m. for Turchin’s first night game of the year, but the lights that I saw tonight don’t seem to be any less intense than they were a few weeks ago. This time I actually wouldn’t mind another day game for a series opener...Krewe d’Etat, anyone?

Read More

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tulane Basketball: Wave Bounces Back Against UTSA

Last night, the Green Wave managed to pull away from the UTSA Roadrunners en route to 68-56 victory at Devlin Fieldhouse.

While the Roadrunners led at the half, the Green Wave picked up the pace in the second and ultimately notched their seventh Conference USA win of the year.

This marks the first time in the Ed Conroy era that Tulane has had 7 or more wins in-conference, and the Green Wave are on the inside track to a first round bye in the Conference USA tournament.

To top it off, Jay Hook, who was 4-4 from three point land against UTEP, continued his hot streak while putting up 25 points on the Roadrunners.

Tulane picks it up again with a home matchup against Florida Atlantic, who we have at 9th in our power rankings, on Feb. 26.

This also marks another game in Tulane's streak of seven consecutive wins against C-USA teams with a worse record (matched by an 0-6 streak when facing teams with a superior record).
Read More

Friday, February 21, 2014

RS JR Randy LeBlanc will make his second start of 2014 on Saturday afternoon at La. Tech

Confidence is up, injuries are down, and Tulane baseball looks to improve on its impeccable 4-0 start to the year starting 6:00 p.m. Friday in Ruston, La., where the Green Wave will take on its first road series - and first Conference USA match up - of the 2014 season. For the young Green Wave squad, the timing for this series, an important RPI weekend, could not be better.

Fresh off of a four-game sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on opening weekend, the Green Wave has six starters hitting above .300 and hit .276 as a team on opening weekend. The line-up for Friday night looks similar to last weekend’s, as Jones will once again send five freshmen (Alemais, Hope, Kaplan, Rogers) to the field.

Freshman righty JP France will make his second start of his collegiate career on Friday night, hoping to build upon last week’s nine-strikeout outing. Randy LeBlanc will get the ball on Saturday afternoon, and Alex Massey, making his first start since May 13, 2012, gets the nod for Sunday.

Newcomers to C-USA, La. Tech came away from their season opening weekend against Southeastern Louisiana with a disappointing 1-2 record. Though two of the games went into extra innings, the Bulldogs only earned one win on the three game set and took a beating on Saturday afternoon, losing 15-6 to the visiting Lions.

In 2013, La. Tech finished 19-37 overall and 6-21 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Tulane is one of three teams in the league who remain undefeated and sits comfortably at No. 3 in C-USA behind FIU and UAB who are 5-0 on the year.

Without playing the mid-week contest with UNO originally scheduled for Tuesday night, Jones and his team were able to focus all efforts on the upcoming three game series in Ruston. The team even took extra measures to prepare for this away weekend, traveling across town to Delgado’s Kirsch Rooney Stadium to practice on grass instead of the turf infield at Turchin.  

Though Jones has not cleared sophomore closer Ian Gibaut to work out of the bull pen this weekend, the Green Wave still has a slew of young arms that haven’t yet seen action in the 2014 season. Gibaut is currently the only Tulane pitcher sidelined with an injury and is expected to make his return to the mound in the coming weeks.

Friday and Sunday’s games will be broadcast on Tulane’s flagship station, 88.3 FM. The game on Saturday will be available to All-Access members only.
Read More

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tulane Basketball: UTEP Cruises to Victory in Devlin

Tulane hosted the conference-leading UTEP Miners at Devlin Fieldhouse tonight. Of course, Miners' coach Tim Floyd brought some New Orleans roots (as a former coach of UNO) in the final in-conference, regular season matchup between these two teams.

It had the potential to be a big game, with UTEP leading our league and Tulane in 6th position in-conference. As a result, Coach Ed Conroy brought out his marketing "A game," offering up free pizzas and dollar drinks to the students in attendance:
The Green Wave has struggled with similar top in-conference talent, so the ability of the Green Wave to stick with UTEP for the first half and much of the second half was a bit of a shock.

However, late in the second half, UTEP managed to build its lead to 20 points as Tulane's three pointers slowed down. Throughout the matchup, the Green Wave was unable to establish any kind of inside game against a much bigger UTEP team.

The Green Wave finished with a 72-54 loss at the Miners' hands.

As Guerry Smith highlights below, this game will be added to the "Tale of Two Teams" year for Tulane:
On one hand, the Green Wave has accumulated a .500 C-USA record, a big feat in light of past years' struggles this time of year.

On the other hand, one can't deny that the team has not been able to show up against better teams, which is highlighted by beatdowns at the hands of UTEP, Middle Tennessee State, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, and Kansas State.

The Green Wave is still very much in the hunt for a bye in the C-USA tournament, but unless it can play up to a higher level of basketball, it remains to be seen whether the team can do anything with it.

Read More

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Heads Up - No UNO Game Tonight

This is where I was planning to do an opponent preview, but there's been a slight change of plans this week. After much deliberation between both teams, coaches at Tulane and UNO were unable to reach an agreement on the first mid-week contest of the year, originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Turchin Stadium.

The upgraded stadium lights at Turchin are too intense and, as Athletic Director Rick Dickson put it, "could light two Yankee Stadiums," making night games impossible for Tulane for at least the next two weeks. The university is working with manufacturers to resolve the problem before Sacred Heart comes to town for a three game series Mardi Gras weekend.

The back-up plan for the UNO game was to move the first pitch to 1:00 p.m. as we saw at Friday afternoon’s season opener, but the Privateers could not commit to a time so early in the day. Another idea was to just flip-flop the dates - Tulane is scheduled to play at UNO on March 19 - but Maestri Field will not be ready for game-play until mid-March.

No date has been set for the match-up between the cross-town rivals, but the game will be played later on this season.

Coming off a four game sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, head coach Rick Jones plans to use this week to work with his team before the Green Wave busses up to Ruston, La. to face Conference USA opponent Louisiana Tech in a three game series beginning Feb. 21.
Read More

Monday, February 17, 2014

Conference USA Power Rankings: Week 16

Conference USA is starting to come down to the wire, and it just keeps getting weirder. Southern Mississippi, easily the most dominant team in the league, took two losses in the past week.

The UTEP Miners were on a similar hot streak but fell to the Florida Atlantic Owls this week, as well. So now the question is open: were these teams just due for a loss, or is the middle of the pack closer to the top than it appears.

Here are the Conference USA Power Rankings for Week 16. Click here if you want to see our last edition.

16. Rice Owls (7-17 / 2-9 CUSA) [16th] 
Notes: Stink, stank, stunk. The Owls can't catch a break, and they are tied for last with equally hapless East Carolina.

15. East Carolina Pirates (13-13 / 2-9 CUSA) [15th] 

14. University of North Texas Mean Green (12-13 / 3-8 CUSA) [13th] 

13. Marshall Thundering Herd (9-17 / 3-8 CUSA) [14th]
Notes: The Thundering Herd had only one road win on the entire season. So it would be tough to pick them when they came to Charlotte this week to face the 49ers. However, the struggling Marshall grinded out a victory against Charlotte, who is in a free fall at this point.

12. UT San Antonio  Roadrunners (8-16 / 4-7 CUSA) [12th] 

11. Florida International Panthers (13-13 / 5-6 CUSA) [11th]
Notes: Honestly, it's kind of lazy to put FIU at 11th again this week. But this team oozes boring. They won on the road against the UTSA Roadrunners but then followed it up with a loss to UTEP. They are definitely above UTSA at this point, but even some of these teams with quirky losses have some fairly exciting wins (see Charlotte). So I will leave FIU a step below this next part of the list, I guess.

10. Charlotte 49ers (14-10 / 5-6 CUSA) [5th] 
Notes: Yeah, this is a huge drop. But the 49ers are falling apart. For starters, they are on a three game losing streak. A 23 point loss on the road to USM is whatever, but they also dropped to Tulane and the struggling Marshall. Yikes. They also have in-conference losses to Rice (the league's worst team) and UTSA. After this nightmare, I am not giving the 49ers the benefit of the doubt until they can turn things around on the court again this year. Did I mention they beat the Michigan Wolverines too? What?

9. Florida Atlantic Owls (10-16 / 5-6 CUSA) [9th] 
Notes: A home win over UAB with a crazy, upset of the UTEP Miners on the road had the Owls stock moving up. Unfortunately for them, they killed their momentum with a 13-point loss to mediocre UTSA.

8. UAB Blazers (15-10 / 4-7 CUSA) [8th] 
Notes: UAB picked up its second win over an NCAA tournament team this week after thoroughly crushing the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi (their previous tourney quality win was over UNC, by the way). So what gives? This seemingly helps you overlook the 1-4 run they are on. Who would have guessed that against Tulane, Florida Atlantic, East Carolina, Florida International, and USM, USM would be the lone win in the bunch?

7. Tulane Green Wave (14-12 / 6-5 CUSA) [10th] 
Notes: The Green Wave has positioned itself in a tie for sixth place with Old Dominion. The big victory came against UAB, the first win at their court since 2007, actually. Tulane is 3-1 in its last 4 games and 6-5 in the league this year. They have a shot at a decent seed in the conference tournament, and I don't think many folks expected that. However, another major loss to a decent team (this time against Middle Tennessee State) forces us to limit our expectations for the team. Until they can hang with the Big Dogs, it's tough to see them challenging too much down the stretch. They will get a chance in this next game against the UTEP Miners on Feb. 20.

6. Old Dominion Monarchs (12-14 / 6-5 CUSA) [6th] 

5. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (13-12 / 8-3 CUSA) [7th] 
Notes: I am really liking this Tulsa team. They literally just crossed the .500 threshold on the season, but they are crushing teams in Conference USA. They are 4-1 in their last 5, and they just beat 6th place Old Dominion 76-37. That isn't a typo. When Tulsa is shooting well, they put up points. Fast.

4. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (21-5 / 8-3 CUSA) [1st] 
Notes: This is a pretty extreme drop, but the Golden Eagles had a pretty extreme week. A 24 point beatdown loss to UAB (in the midst of a huge slump) isn't all that damning, but failing to get it together and taking a second loss really hurts. The second defeat came at the hands of Middle Tennessee State, which puts the Blue Raiders a game above USM with a short season remaining. Moreover, the Golden Eagles likely have let their bubble burst and will need to win the conference to get in, given their lack of solid non-conference wins.

3. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (21-6 / 9-2 CUSA) [3rd] 
Notes: With these next three teams tied at 9-2, it's pretty tough to split them up at this point. Louisiana Tech gets the short straw. They have been winning, but they definitely drew the easiest schedule of the bunch. With only one above .500 team left for the year though, you have to expect the Bulldogs to be a serious threat for the top seed.

2. UTEP Miners (19-7 / 9-2 CUSA) [2nd] 
Notes: I continue to think the Miners are a better team than Middle Tennessee State. However, UTEP lost to Florida Atlantic, while Middle Tennessee wrecked both Tulane and USM (both above .500 teams). So I will give the Blue Raiders a nod this week, but I expect UTEP to be the better team in the end.

1. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (19-7 / 9-2 CUSA) [4th] 
Notes: This is the first week that I have picked MTSU. They are riding a seven game winning streak, and they took care of business against the Golden Eagles. They will get a chance to defend their right to be at the top with a road matchup against Louisiana Tech on the horizon.

Make sure to follow FearTheWave.com on Facebook, too. 
Read More