Tulane baseball climbing the rankings early in 2020 campaign

Owen Scher, Staff Reporter

The Green Wave baseball team has had a fantastic start to its 2020 campaign. While the team posted a positive record last year, the improvement seen already this season is remarkable.

In head coach Travis Jewett’s fourth year in charge of Tulane baseball, the team has returned to the national spotlight. In five national rankings, Tulane is either ranked or receiving votes. D1 baseball even has Tulane as high as No. 20 in a recent NCAA poll.

The superior performance this season has Tulane off to a 14-2 record to begin the year. The significant improvement this year comes from both veterans and new members of the squad. 

Several additions from the junior class are boosting the team’s play, namely Braden Olthoff, Trevor Minder, Clifton Slagel and Luis Aviles. Minder and Aviles have been destroying the baseball this season. Minder is batting .350 with three home runs and Aviles is batting .414 and two home runs. 

Meanwhile, Slagel and Olthoff have been significant presences on the mound. Slagel has yet to give up an earned run and has 16 strikeouts in 13 innings. Olthoff has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the nation this season, having pitched 28 innings and struck out 47 batters over that time. With a 0.32 ERA including a complete game shutout of California State Fullerton, Olthoff has been a force on the mound this year. 

Aside from just these individual performances, the team is playing hard and playing together for the coaching staff. This week the team had a five-game homestand, beginning with two games against Lamar University and concluding with a weekend series against Long Beach State.

Finishing the non-conference part of the schedule strong will be key for Tulane as expectations the rest of the season at Turchin Stadium will be high. While the early season success is promising, sustaining these types of results through the next few weeks would solidify Tulane as a top contender for the American Athletic Conference.