A tough rebuilding project has become even tougher for Tulane baseball coach Travis Jewett.
After losing a huge chunk of his roster to graduation at the end of a disappointing first year, he is losing another key player to a transfer.
Chase Solesky, a freshman pitcher, announced Friday on Twitter he was leaving the program. His departure leaves the Green Wave with only two returning pitchers who started more than two games this season.
“I felt it was best to transfer from Tulane and do what is best for my family and me to reach the goals I have set for myself,” Solesky wrote in part of a 150-word tweet. “I leave heavy-hearted, with much APPRECIATION for my family, friends, teammates and Green Wave fans. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that the coaches provided me.”
Tulane had the second-worst ERA in school history during a 27-31 debut season for Jewett, but Solesky, from Fort Pierce, Florida, was one of the few bright spots on the mound. He went 5-3 in 25 appearances with eight starts. His 3.84 ERA was tied for the second best on the team, and his 68 innings were the third most.
With Solesky’s departure, Tulane’s most accomplished returning pitchers are redshirt senior Sam Bjorngjeld (5.91 ERA) and junior Ross Massey, a Baton Rouge Catholic graduate who followed a terrific freshman year with a nightmarish sophomore slump (0-8, 9.68).
The Wave also lost most of its position players to graduation, with outfielder Grant Witherspoon (.299 average, five home runs) the only returning starter who hit. 225 or better or more than one home run.
Solesky’s announcement came a week after J.P. France revealed he would play for Mississippi State as a graduate transfer. France, who matched Solesky’s 3.84 ERA while pitching a team-high 96 innings, likely would have been Tulane’s Friday starter in 2018 if he had returned.
Instead, he participated in Senior Day ceremonies, ending his Green Wave career with a year of eligibility left.
After not being drafted, he chose Mississippi State, where he will be coached by former Tulane player and LSU assistant Andy Cannizaro. He also will be reunited with Jake Gautreau, the coach who recruited him to Tulane as an assistant to Rick Jones. Cannizaro recently added Gautreau to his staff.