Confident Wave pitchers keep opposing hitters off balance

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Confident Wave pitchers keep opposing hitters off balance

Jordan Figueredo, Associate Sports Editor

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Tulane baseball (12-4, 0-0 AAC) has captured the attention of fans and the Uptown community and proving to be a force to reckon with.

The pitching for the Green Wave has shown tremendous improvement this season with an earned-run average of 1.75 ranking No. 11 in the nation and has tallied four shutouts.

Tulane pitchers are pounding the strike zone and limiting opposing hitters to a .205 batting average.

Junior pitcher Ian Gibaut says he continues to make sure he always approaches the mound with confidence and the new coaching staff has been influential in instituting a culture change, which has resulted the pitching success.

“[The coaches] are really big on not walking anybody and I really take that to heart and make sure I don’t walk anyone,” Gibaut said. “I did that today [against Gonzaga] and I’m knocking myself for that, but I can’t be too hard on myself.”

Approaching everyday with uniformity as well as utilizing the strengths of the entire team, head coach David Pierce expects all of his players play as consistent as possible and go out mentally and physically ready to play everyday. 

Volunteer pitching coach Phil Haig believes that this group of pitchers are a fun bunch with a lot of confidence and just need to stay at it and not give up after a humbling weekend series against Gonzaga.

“All we talk about is winning the quality fastball down and attacking the zone,” Haig said. “We kind of let everything else play off of that and if they’re able to win the fastball down, the break of the ball will be right and as long as you’re down there’s a chance to win.”

Junior pitcher Tim Yandel who has an ERA of 0.93 and was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LWSA) pitcher of the month for February considers himself a position player, rather than simply a pitcher. He does enjoy pitching for the Green Wave and feels as if he is learning a lot.

When it comes to being on the mound, Yandel channels his nerves into positive energy and knows he can depend on his coaches and teammates to only make him better. 

“The group of guys and the pitching staff are all really close and we have each others back,” Yandel said. “The coaches as well as the guys are good at keeping me relaxed. They are good at letting me know both when I did a good job and when I mess up [they teach me] how to fix it.”

With a fastball averaging 90 mph, Yandel is becoming more confident on the mound and is now able to go longer on the mound and stretch his play time out.

Coach Pierce believes with confidence and consistency this team will continue to have success.

“Confidence in baseball is what you need to be able to go out there and preform,” Haig said. “The guys feel good about themselves and have tasted success so as long as we’re able to keep that taste in our mouth I think they’ll be just fine [throughout the season].”

Tulane baseball ranked No. 25 for the first time since 2011 and eager for the remainder of the season to continue to prove that they are a threat in the AAC. 

“It’s awesome to be ranked and to have a target on your back knowing people are coming for you,” Gibaut said. “It gives you a sort of edge and a little swagger, it just feels really great.”