Q Does Tulane have what it takes to stop its NCAA postseason skid?
AThe Green Wave hasn’t been in the NCAA tournament since 2008, a fact that burns Jones. A No. 23-ranked recruiting clas should upgrade the talent, but it’ll be tough to mask the inexperience, with six newcomers starting on opening night.
Q How does the Wave make up for losing its entire weekend staff from last season?
AIt starts with freshmen arms like J.P. France and Corey Merrill, who have injected some new life into the rotation, but the Wave’s success will ultimately rely on the fragile health of Randy LeBlanc, Tyler Mapes, Kyle McKenzie and Alex Massey, who have struggled just to be available in their careers.
Q Can this lineup generate any power in the batting order?
AIn an era where home runs are down across the board in college baseball, Tulane was particularly stricken last year, hitting just 10 all season. Outside of Hunter Hope and possibly Lex Kaplan, there isn’t much hope of testing the fences.
Q Where can the Green Wave generate its offense?
AWithout the long ball at Tulane’s disposal, Jones upgraded the Wave’s speed adding Stephen Alemais, Lex Kaplan and Grant Brown to join Richard Carthon as base-stealing threats. Expect a significant increase in bunting and hit-and-runs as Tulane tries to boost its scoring opportunities.
Q Is Rick Jones in jeopardy of losing his job?
AAfter 21 seasons, 12 NCAA tournament appearances and two College World Series berths, Jones is easily the best coach in program history, but the five-year postseason drought has taken its toll on the fans and him. Another disappointing year will certainly heat his seat.