Predictions: Baseball team to dominate this season

Former+senior+Tyler+Wilson+finishes+rounding+the+bases+after+his+first+home+run+as+a+Green+Wave+member+in+the+final+game+in+a+three+game+series+against+Gonzaga+March+8%2C+2015+in+Turchin+Stadium.+The+Wave+went+1-3+against+the+Bulldogs.%C2%A0

Former senior Tyler Wilson finishes rounding the bases after his first home run as a Green Wave member in the final game in a three game series against Gonzaga March 8, 2015 in Turchin Stadium. The Wave went 1-3 against the Bulldogs. 

Alec Eskind, Contributing Reporter

Tulane baseball kicks its season off on Feb. 19 with an opening series against the defending Big 10 Conference champ Illinois.

With a number of returning field players and pitchers from a season where the Green Wave reached the NCAA Tournament, expectations have never been higher for this team, and aspirations to host a regional and advance to Omaha, Nebraska for the college World Series are as realistic as ever for the 18th ranked Wave.

Here are a few bold predictions:

1. The Green Wave pitching staff will have a combined earned run average under 3.0.

Returning every rotation starter from a staff that had a combined 3.09 ERA and only allowed 17 home runs this past season, this experienced group is poised for another stellar year.

Look for experienced guys like junior Corey Merrill, redshirt senior Alex Massey, senior Patrick Duester, senior Emerson Gibbs and senior Evan Rutter to lead the way and younger players like sophomore Jackson Johnson and redshirt sophomore Sam Bjorngjeld to assert themselves in relief of the veterans at key moments throughout the season.

2. Tranfers will play a big role in the success of this season.

Tulane will feature several transfers this year and their experience at big-time programs and unique skill sets will be key factors in the Green Wave success.

Coach David Pierce will have a lot of depth at his disposal and transfers Chris Oakley (RHP, UNC), Matt Rowland (INF, Louisville) and Jarret DeHart (OF, LSU) will all be significant contributors to the Tulane this year.

3. Tulane will beat LSU at least once this year.

The Green Wave will play LSU twice this season, on March 29 in Baton Rouge and April 26 at Turchin Stadium. Tulane came up short against LSU in two tries last year, losing 13-7 in New Orleans and 6-0 in Baton Rouge.

After the Green Wave’s trip to the regional last year and with a refined focus this year, the boys will beat an LSU team that is expected to be a national power again this season.

4. Tulane will win the AAC.

Picked to finish second by the coaches this season, Tulane is well positioned within the conference to take the conference title.

Early season non-conference tests against Illinois and Pepperdine should prepare the Wave for a rigorous conference schedule, and the tough in-conference games come towards the end of the season when Coach Pierce should have the team in its peak form heading into the postseason.

Coaches picked Houston to win the conference, but not having to play them until late in the year means the Tulane will have been tested by tough programs such as Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette by that time and will be ready for anything Houston throws at it.

5. Tulane will host a regional.

Reserved for the top 16 teams in college baseball, the Green Wave will host an NCAA tournament regional this season. With the pitching staff full of consistency and experience and the lineup featuring great hitters featuring preseason first team all-AAC shortstop Stephen Alemais and the accomplished batters Richard Carthon and Hunter Williams, this team both expects and aspires to host a regional in New Orleans.

“Once you make the postseason its anybody’s game,” senior right-handed pitcher Emerson Gibbs said.  

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.