Luis Aviles, Green Wave baseball rolls hot heading into April

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane baseball has won the last six of their eight games (Parker Waters)

Tulane baseball is on a hot streak heading into April, as they won their last two series and their last six of eight. Powered by catcher Luis Aviles and pitcher Grant Siegel, the Green Wave is surging with series wins against the University of Dayton and the University of Memphis.

After taking the series against the Villanova Wildcats, the Green Wave hosted the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in a midweek clash at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on March 23. Tulane surged to a 7-1 lead within five innings, thanks in part to an Aviles triple in the first inning.

The Lions would not give up, however, and pulled the game to within one by the seventh. In two innings, Tulane pitchers gave up two doubles and a three-run home run. However, closer Zach DeVito entered the game in the eighth to get the Green Wave out of a two-base runner jam, before shutting down the Lions in the ninth to secure the Tulane win.

The Dayton Flyers then came to New Orleans for the weekend series, but the hosts took two of three in the series. Tulane dismantled Dayton in game one 12-1, thanks in large part due to a three-RBI day for both Aviles and Simon Baumgardt. 

Game two saw the Flyers hold a 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but freshman sensation Jackson Linn tied the game thanks to a two-run home run. Linn extended his hitting streak to eight games thanks to his four-hit game. However, Dayton’s four runs in the top of the eleventh were enough to take the game 7-3. 

Game three was a pitchers duel, with Tulane starter Michael Massey striking out six in seven and two-thirds innings without giving up a run. The Flyers scored twice in the top of the ninth to tie the game, but a Baumgardt line drive gave the Green Wave a walk off 3-2 win.

Following this high, Tulane self-destructed in a 14-6 defeat in an away game against the New Orleans Privateers. Green Wave pitchers allowed 14 hits, while the defense committed six fielding errors. Tulane used ten pitchers in the lopsided defeat, a worrying display by the bullpen. The Green Wave offense did manage four home runs, including two from Aviles.

The Sluggerbirds rebounded from the loss with a sweep of the Memphis Tigers in Memphis, Tennessee. Tulane began the series with a 16-3 demolition of the Tigers, with Green Wave starter Grant Siegel pitching seven innings and striking out nine. Aviles drove in five runs thanks to his three hit day.

The Olive and Blue left it late in game two, as a three-run ninth inning gave Tulane a 5-2 win. The Tigers defense imploded in the top of the ninth. First, Ethan Groff drove in a run with a single. Groff reached second thanks to a fielding error, then third after a failed pickoff attempt. The right fielder then scored following a wild pitch. Closer DeVito finished the game with a three-strikeout ninth.

Game three was similar, as the Tigers held a 3-0 through five innings. Tulane pulled one back in the sixth thanks to a Bennett Lee single, before Chase Engelhard’s three-run home run in the eighth gave Tulane the lead. Groff’s ninth inning solo home run gave the Green Wave some more insurance, and Tulane would hold on for a 5-3 win. 

Aviles and Siegel have been excellent these past two weeks, with both earning American Athletic Conference honors in both weeks. Siegel’s earned run average of 1.00 is ninth-best in the nation. As for Aviles, he is batting .366 with 26 RBIs in 26 games.

Other stand out players for the Green Wave have been DeVito and Linn. DeVito has seven saves on the year, while Linn has been batting .368 thus far.

Next up, the Green Wave will travel to Baton Rouge on April 6 to play the Southern Jaguars, before hosting the South Florida Bulls for a three-game set from April 8-10.