NEW ORLEANS — Before the first open weekend of the Rick Jones era, the Tulane baseball team will travel to play at Louisiana-Monroe at noon Tuesday before hosting UNO at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane (18-20) and ULM (14-22) will meet for the first time. Though the Green Wave leads the overall series 38-10, the Warhawks won both meetings last season.
On Tuesday, Tulane will start redshirt sophomore right-hander Randy LeBlanc (1-2, 6.39 ERA, 25.1 innings). The Warhawks will counter with senior right-hander Devon Malone (4.40 ERA), who will make his first start after 10 relief appearances.
Tulane has split its two games with UNO (5-31), which is playing as a Division I independent this season. The Green Wave won 5-3 Feb. 27 and lost 5-4 March 19. The winner Wednesday will take home the First NBC Cup.
The Green Wave has yet to name a starter for Wednesday’s match up, but Jones said there is a possibility that senior Andrew Reeves could make his season debut at some point. The Privateers will start right-hander Stephen Potter (0-2, 12.71 ERA).
This weekend, the Green Wave will have its first open weekend under Jones. Instead of playing a nonconference opponent during Conference USA play, Jones opted to play more midweek games this season, hence the back-to-back games against ULM and UNO.
“You want to win (the two games),” Jones said. “As I said to our club, you want to do whatever you can to win them.
“Obviously UNO, they play gang-busters against us. Both times they’ve played us, they’ve played lights out.
“We went to UL-Monroe last year, and they thumped us. It’ll be an interesting trip for us. We’ll see how we respond, and then come back and play UNO Wednesday night. Let’s see what happens for us in the week that we’re off.”
Tulane is coming off a weekend where it played 34 innings, including the first back-to-back extra-inning games since 2009 when the Green Wave hosted East Carolina this weekend. The Green Wave lost a 13-inning game 3-2 Friday before tying the series Saturday 5-4 in 12 innings. ECU won 4-2 Sunday.
ULM is batting .235 and is led by Corben Green’s .303 average. Green also has four home runs and 17 RBIs.
UNO is batting .236 and is led by Jonathan Coco, who is batting .291.