Tulane Scouting Report

Florida's first opponent in the Tallahassee baseball regional is one they've crossed paths with before in the postseason. Third-seeded Tulane is 1-5 all time against the Gators, including a defeat in an NCAA regional 20 years ago. This year's edition of the Green Wave hopes to improve that mark, and will pose a significant test as they face Florida Friday.

Like Florida, Tulane was not a part of last year's baseball postseason. That was an anomaly, as coach Rick Jones had led his squad to the nine previous editions of the NCAA tournament. They won regions in 2001, '04 and '05. Despite the encouraging history, this year's Tulane team was far from a sure thing to make the field due to losing twice in three Conference USA tournament games. A 37-20-1 mark proved to be enough to get the Green Wave into the field of 64.

Florida is expected to see Tulane's ace starter Shooter Hunt, who Baseball America projects as a top ten MLB draft pick, on Friday. The righty was a 34th rounder coming out of high school, but has been able to elevate his stock at Tulane on his way to being named C-USA Pitcher of the Year. Hunt is 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 91.2 innings of work. He has a mid-90s fastball but does exhibit some control issues at times, as evidenced by his 51 walks this season. A strong curveball is also part of Hunt's arsenal. For the season, opponents are hitting just .156 against him. Florida has to hope Hunt's last start reflects how the junior will perform against them. Marshall touched him up for six runs in six innings of work in Tulane's first C-USA tournament game, which they lost.

When Tulane goes to the bullpen, junior right hander Mason Griffin is the most likely guy to come out. Griffin leads Tulane in appearances and has seven saves while striking out just less than one batter per inning. He's a JUCO transfer, so this will be his first NCAA tournament experience. Tulane's other main closer option is right hander Rob Segedin. He's got four saves but is more significant in his typical role as the Green Wave's third baseman. Tulane's elimination loss in the C-USA tournament came on a wild pitch by Segedin, so he might be a little shaky in a pressure pitching situation this week.

Segedin is a freshman, but leads Tulane in batting average and runs batted in. He was a second team all-conference choice this season. The Green Wave's home run leader is centerfielder Chris Scelfo with 11. Like Segedin, he's a double duty guy but Scelfo's "other job" is quarterback for the Tulane football team. He's the nephew of former head coach Chris Scelfo.

A big part of Tulane's offense comes on the base paths. Junior second baseman Seth Henry made things happen there and at the plate well enough to be selected second team all-conference. He's driven in 51 runs but also swiped 11 bases. The main speed for Tulane comes from outfielder Aja Barto, who's 20-for-23 on steal attempts this season. As a team, the Green Wave have stolen 92 bases. Florida likely will be able to run on them as well, though, as Tulane opponents have successfully swiped 96-of-121 attempts.

Overall, Florida and Tulane look very similar. The presence of a true ace pitcher in Hunt is the main thing that separates the two going in. If the Gators can get to the Green Wave ace early or limit his durability by forcing him to work deep into counts, the odds would shift in their favor.


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