Midseason inconsistencies highlight Tulane season

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Parker Waters

Freshman catcher Bennett Lee celebrates his first college home run against Western Kentucky.

Blaise Noble-Schueller, Staff Reporter

After last year’s talented squad got cut short of winning an American Athletic Conference title, an accolade the team hoped for throughout the season, the Green Wave looked to continue their storied baseball legacy this season. With the lead of five-year head coach, Travis Jewett, and studs on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, it was difficult not to expect good things this year. 

The season began with a less-than-ideal start, with the squad going 3-5 in their first eight games, with losses to University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Mississippi State University and Southeastern Louisiana University. What was most concerning about the beginning of the season was that Tulane seemed to be losing games due to mental lapses and inconsistencies rather than lack of talent. 

Despite their slow start, the team looked better than what their record would allude to. The hitting seemed to be there at times and pitching performances were good and — on rare occasions — great. Tulane went into their next series against Western Kentucky University with hopes of proving that they were better than a 3-5 type of team.

In the first game of a three-game series against Western Kentucky, Tulane looked to break its three-game losing streak. Braden Olthoff got the start and pitched 4.2 innings despite pitching against Mississippi State in the week prior. He proceeded to strike out five but giving up five runs, three earned. Though a less than ideal game from the team’s ace, the hitting managed to bail the team out. Ethan Groff managed to step up to the plate in the bottom of the eighth to hit an absolute dinger to deep left to give Tulane the 6-5 lead and, in turn, the win.

Tulane went on to win the next game, but fell 7-8 in a heartbreaker to end the series 2-1 against Western Kentucky. This put the Wave at a 5-6 and further highlighted the only consistency in this Tulane season may be its inconsistency.

Freshman pitcher Zach Devito on the mound. (Parker Waters)

Following the 5-6 start, Tulane picked up a win against Southern University, displaying a pitching clinic, with Tulane pitchers striking out 16 batters, only allowing three hits, and leading Tulane to its first shutout victory of the year. The team found ways to string together big hits in the most important times making the contest not very close by the end of the game.

The Green Wave played Troy University and Texas Southern University, respectively, in the following week. After winning two of three against Troy and handily taking down Texas Southern, it finally seemed that the season may be taking a turn. Though sitting at a respectable, but not excellent, 9-7, a nice winning streak left the team and the fan community alike curious, excited and nervous about what this team could possibly do.

Unfortunately, the fun didn’t last for long as Louisiana Tech University came to town to simply squash all the fun the team had in the week prior. After losing three in a row by a combined run total of eight, the team was hurting. “We just weren’t able to do the things that we needed to do to win,” head coach Jewett said.

Though their game against LSU was cancelled due to storms, Tulane must be a lot better than what they showed against Louisiana Tech to realistically have a shot at beating a team the caliber of LSU and making other significant strides this season.

It may be frustrating for Tulane to see this downturn, as at times, the baseball team has looked like a decent competitor for the national title. However, Tulane fans have also become spoiled — the team has certainly looked a lot worse.

Regardless of the season so far, there is a lot of time and great opponents ahead of the Wave. Notably, rivals University of Houston and University of Memphis are still to be faced down the road.

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