I Love Mardi Ball
College Baseball returns
It’s awesome that New Orleans loves the kick off of the college baseball season so much that they throw parade after parade for it. The throws, the marching bands, the guys in weird masks all come together to tell the city a glorious message — college baseball is back, baby.
Obviously that is a lie as every team in town struggles to get butts in the seats but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of great college baseball being played in the state of Louisiana. Whatever your fave team might be, even if they’re not in your town, you should get out and support college baseball.
The Tulane Green Wave opened the season in grand fashion with a three-game sweep over Florida Gulf Coast. It was a perfect series for a club that desperately needs to get its mojo back and the Green Wave showed a lot of moxie by coming from behind for victories in two of the three games.
Pitching-wise it’s a “buy a program” type of year as the Green Wave rolled out three new starters over the weekend. Even though they’re new to us the new pitching staff is pretty salty in that they’ve all played for other schools at the college level already. Braden Olthoff, Jack Aldrich and Donovan Benoit all collected wins in their first start with Tulane. Olthoff buzzed Greenie Nation in his debut striking out 10 batters in six innings and only giving up one run. Benoit only gave up one run as well in his five-inning performance. Remember Keagan Gillies? In one of the most surprising moves of the early season, Coach Travis Jewett is using Gillies as a reliever instead of his customary starting role. It’s a move that is reminiscent of David Pierce bringing Corey Merrill out of the bullpen in 2016 and hopefully will pay the same dividends. If the new starters at Tulane can pull their weight and allow the Green Wave to bring Gillies out of the bullpen then this season immediately gets very intriguing. Collectively the team only gave up eighth runs over three games which was a solid performance all around by a team that gave up way too many runs last year.
Tulane has a tough week ahead as they get on the road to play a mid-week game against Louisiana-Lafayette and then head out west to take on Cal State Fullerton, who just took a series from ranked Stanford. The next time we’ll see the Green Wave at Turchin Stadium is Feb. 26 when they host the University of New Orleans.
The Tulane sweep was great but no Louisiana team got off to a better start than Louisiana Tech. The Diamond Dogs owned the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns tournament and knocked the Matt Diggs-era at Louisiana-Lafayette for a loop, sweeping two games against the host school. Louisiana Tech would also beat Southeastern Louisiana in an undefeated weekend. It was a great tournament in Lafayette and makes one dream for a Tulane tournament to kick off the year. Just imagine how cool an opening weekend tournament featuring Tulane, LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana would be. Let’s call it the Bayou Boogaloo Bash and throw some spice on the beginning of the college baseball season, shall we?
On the flip side of Tulane’s start is the weekend of the UNO Privateers. The club hosted the Andre Dawson Classic and put up a less than “Hawk”-like performance. The Privateers lost 9-3 to Southern and 5-1 to Grambling, teams that UNO were favored against. It’s a humbling start to the season for a club that missed the Southland Conference tournament last year. It gets really real, really quick for the Privateers as their upcoming schedule features Tulane, South Alabama and UConn over the next few weeks before heading into conference play.
Coach Orgeron rang in the LSU baseball season by throwing out the first pitch. He then gave the team one of those quick pep talks that motivate a man to throw cars over tall buildings. The LSU Tigers took a series over a good Indiana squad over the weekend. Remember back in the day when LSU wasn’t afraid to play Tulane three times a year? Wild times. The Tigers will chew through some minor competition over the next few weeks before taking part in the megawatt Shriner’s Classic tournament against the likes of Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma.
Beads aren’t the only things being thrown around these days, folks! College baseball has returned. Get out to the park and support your favorite clubs!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Pabst Blue Ribbon and standing on streets
Playlist Recommendation: The Meters – “Hey Pocky A-Way”
Around the Way
All things basketball are going through a rough patch in Uptown as the Tulane women’s basketball team is on a four-game losing streak. They’ve been competitive in all of the losses but sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. No matter the recent outcomes, the team looks tough, which is more than can be said for the men’s team whose season has completely derailed.