Incredible talent headlines Tulane baseball

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

As Tulane baseball prepares to open their season against the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Feb. 18, they are looking to continue building off of a successful previous few years. With exciting talent and a box office schedule, the team is anticipating success.

“It’s just been a growth pattern … a third-place finish a couple of years ago … then it was a really good COVID start year … ranked in the top 20. Gone. And then last year to be a half game out of first place with the last weekend on the horizon. So that’s a second-place finish. So it’s kind of like, you know, let’s try to jump into the next step,” head coach Travis Jewett said.

Headlining the hitting corps is sophomore catcher Bennett Lee. Last season, his batting average was an astounding .440, and he was one of four Tulane players selected to the preseason all-American Athletic Conference team. Other prominent Tulane bats include second baseman Chase Engelhard and designated hitter Luis Aviles.

The pitching staff is much changed, with four Tulane pitchers being drafted by MLB teams, including Bradon Olthoff, who once pitched so well that Mississippi State accused him of cheating. Jewett, however, welcomes the return of preseason all-conference team member Tyler Hoffman, who started most Sundays last season.

Transferring in from the defending national champions Mississippi State Bulldogs is left-hander Dylan Carmouche

“Left-handed pitcher, strike thrower machine, really good changeup … And so he’s good, the talent is good. I like his brain. I like his mix. I think he can throw multiple pitches for strikes. He controls the running game. Another guy that I think would fit into the equation in replacing some of those studs … we’ve lost,” Jewett said about Carmouche.

Jewett replaced the players lost to the draft and graduation with a strong recruiting class headlined by Teo Banks and Jackson Lynn. Both players were selected in last year’s MLB draft but decided to play for Tulane instead.

Jewett said he is excited to see these freshmen in action. “So for us to get Banks to show up here, 12th rounder with the Cubs, and then Jackson, 20th rounder with the Astros, that just shows you that we’ve got two [that] we think [are] future corner type outfielders, both hyper athletic bodies. They’re kind of what I call big, strong, fast guys … They’ve got arm strength, they’ve got power, you know? Sky’s the limit for these guys,” Jewett said.

Tulane plays an exciting schedule, which includes hosting the Mississippi State Bulldogs from March 4-6, traveling to LSU on March 15 and hosting the East Carolina Pirates from April 22-24.

Last season against the Bulldogs, Tulane traveled to Mississippi to claim only one of three games but did have a lead in the final inning of every game.

With opening day just around the corner, the Green Wave will look to prove that they are the best baseball team in the AAC, in Louisiana and, hopefully, in the nation.