Opinion: Relief pitchers hindered Wave’s weekend sweep

Samantha Shafia, Associate Sports Editor

“New pitcher! Watch the pitcher!”

While the Green Wave’s starting pitchers have met all their expectations thus far, the relief pitching needs to work on pitching tougher when the team needs them.

No. 20 Tulane baseball has had a tremendous start to the season as it won its first home series against Illinois (2-1). Despite this, Tulane’s relief pitching did not maintain the leads in the final innings that the starting pitchers initiated.

All weekend long the starting pitchers performed their tasks as the team needed and gave the team the chance for shutouts. Junior pitcher Corey Merrill, redshirt senior pitcher Alex Massey and senior pitcher Emerson Gibbs each had some hits against them, but their skills and experiences as players got them out of the holes they dug themselves into.

The starting pitchers can’t always close the game off due to the amount of pitches pitched, so Tulane’s relief pitchers need to maintain the lead or give the offense the opportunity to propel past the competition by securing their deficits.

On Friday and Sunday, the relief pitching team racked up five runs on each day of play. Though a relief pitcher allowing one run seems acceptable and something that the offense can easily make up for, more than one run from more than one relief pitcher in a game makes chances at victory slim.

Some might say that the issue disperses across the entire team, both defensively and offensively, but the issue was not with the amount of runs the team did not gain.

The offense scored at least two runs in each game this past series before the relief pitchers started entering. This bump should have given the relief pitchers the flexibility for one or two earned runs. But when the relief pitchers dig a hole of three or four runs deep, too much pressure is placed on the bats to come through.

Friday’s game ended in a rally in the bottom of the tenth with a walk-off three-run home run, but the Wave cannot always rely on those incredible chances to become a reality.

As Tulane gears up to compete against big bats like No. 22 University of Kentucky, University of California, Santa Barbara and Nebraska in the Tony Gwynn Classic, all eyes will be on Tulane’s relief pitchers to see if they can step up to the mound this season and help their team out.

The Wave will continue this pitching fight in the Tony Gwynn classic Feb. 26 at Fowler Park in San Diego, California.

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

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