The Tulane University baseball team will look to make up some ground in the Conference USA race this weekend when the Green Wave plays host to league foe Memphis in a three-game series beginning Friday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane, which dropped a three-game series last weekend at TCU 2-1, comes into the weekend 16-6 on the year and riding the crest of a two-game winning streak. While last weekend's loss continues a dubious trend of never winning a C-USA opening weekend, holding an 8-15-1 mark in those games, the Green Wave has won 77.2 percent of their games in the league's second weekend.
For the season, the Green Wave are hitting .325 as a team and are led by All-America candidate Michael Aubrey with a .465 batting average to go along with five home runs and 33 RBI. Sophomore second baseman Tommy Manzella is next with a .375 average with two home runs and 18 RBI, followed by freshman outfielder Brian Bogusevic with a .365 mark.
As a team, the Tulane pitching staff has tallied a 3.36 ERA after giving up 72 earned runs in 193.0 innings so far in 2003. Opponents are hitting .275 off the Green Wave hurlers with 208 hits in 755 at-bats. Tulane has also done a good job of keeping the ball over the plate with a Conference USA-best 186 strikeouts and just 56 walks.
Junior Cory Hahn leads the team with a 4-1 record and a 2.12 ERA, followed by freshman southpaw J.R. Crowel with a 2.67 mark. Junior reliever Joey Charron paces the team in strikeouts and saves with 31 and four, respectively.
Memphis, meanwhile, comes to The Big Easy 6-11 on the year and are riding the high of a 10-inning, come-from-behind 8-7 win over No. 9 Mississippi State Wednesday night at AutoZone Park.
As a team, the Tigers are hitting .236 with a .406 slugging percentage courtesy of 31 doubles, three triples and 19 home runs. Kurt Welch paces the Memphis squad with a .286 batting average, followed by Kyle Scott with a .271 mark. Kevin House is tied for the team lead with three home runs, and paces the squad with 17 RBI.
On the mound, Memphis has a 6.89 team ERA after allowing 111 earned runs in 145.0 innings. Tiger hurlers are allowing opponents to hit .328 and have tallied 121 strikeouts to 77 walks. Stephen Gostowski leads the staff with a 2.95 ERA, and Jarrett Grube paces the squad with 19 strikeouts.
Tulane leads the all-time series with Memphis 27-20, and the Green Wave are 18-5 against the Tigers under head coach Rick Jones. Last year, Tulane took two of three from the Tigers - winning the Friday and Saturday games - at Memphis' Nat Buring Stadium.
Following Friday's game with the Tigers, Tulane will do battle with Memphis again on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. For tickets to this weekend's games and future Tulane contests, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.
BROADCAST INFORMATION: All three games this weekend will be aired live on the flagship station of Tulane Baseball, WRBH 88.3 fm. The series against Memphis can also be heard live on the internet at www.tulanegreenwave.com.
THEY'RE TAKING OVER: As always, Sunday is "Kids' Day" at Turchin Stadium. But this week will be a little different as the Green Wave celebrate "Kids Take Over The Ballpark Day" where members of the Ridtide's Kids Club will literally take over the ballpark and perform a number of tasks ranging from joining the Tulane radio broadcast, working the scoreboard and serving as the voice behind the public address microphone.