Post-Mardi Gras Blues
Bad weekend for UNO and Tulane
Needless to say — and I know I’m not telling you anything my friends — Carnival and Mardi Gras are quite exhausting. I thought the very short season last year was punishing and actually looked forward to this longer season thinking it would be way more casual or at least a bit more chill on a Wednesday night.
That was a mistake.
You see, the problem with the longer season is that you have way more opportunities to fill it up with parties, get-togethers, crawfish boils or any other reason to stand in the street. So yeah, it was all a hump and as I awoke on Ash Wednesday all I could think was, “Thank God.”
Yet, less than a week later, I’m missing it all again and the post-Mardi Gras blues have set in. Actually, they’ve hit pretty hard for our local fave college baseball teams, UNO and Tulane, as well.
Here’s where they stand after a rough weekend.
UNO Privateers (9-5)
Yes I said rough, but in the case of the UNO Privateers I just mean they lost the series. Their Sunday fell apart in a 9-1 loss to Nicholls State (9-8), but they can at least be proud of the first two games of the series.
In the opener, UNO got a solid pitching performance from freshman Brandon Mitchell in a 3-2 Privateers victory. Mitchell, out of Houston, Texas gave up two earned runs in six innings before passing the ball off to UNO’s expert middle relief pitcher Mathew Oset who collected the victory. Reeves Martin came in for Oset and struck out three batters in the ninth to seal the victory for UNO.
Yet that wasn’t the story of the game as the Privateers entered the ninth trailing 2-0. Even scarier, Nicholls State pitcher Trever Kilcrease was throwing a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts at the time in a masterful performance but this UNO team just doesn’t quit.
In the top of the ninth with one out, Salo Iza reached on a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then UNO’s big hitters Collin Morrill and Pearce Howard knocked the ball around the park and, before you could ask, “How does St. Charles get cleaned up so quickly,” junior Tresten Kennard was knocking in the winning run on a wild come from behind victory.
Game two in the series was another tight one with Nicholls State winning 3-2. The game sort of had the same vibe as the Colonels were ahead 2-0 at the end of the fifth inning before the Privateers put up runs in the sixth and seventh to tie it all up.
If you don’t know let me be the first to tell you, the best college pitcher in town right now is none other than UNO’s Chris Turpin. The junior, out of Belle Chasse, came over from Delgado Community College, hasn’t had a bad performance in four starts this year. So far this season Turpin (2-0) has worked 23.2 innings, striking out 11, walking three and owns a nasty ERA of 1.90. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough on Saturday but you need to check this kid out.
Like I said, on Sunday the Privateers got stomped 9-1 and who wants to hear about that?
Make sure to pay attention to UNO over the next two weeks as they face the roughest patch of their schedule with weekend series against Northwestern State and Sam Houston State. If that wasn’t enough, they have mid-week games versus South Alabama and, this Tuesday, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Tulane Green Wave (10-6)
I was trying to think of something funny or pithy to kick this section off, but all I can really say is this was an awful weekend of baseball for Tulane, especially pitching.
You like horror? Read the stat lines of the Green Wave pitching staff from this weekend.
Keagan Gillies gave up four runs in 3.1 innings and that was probably the best pitching performance of the weekend from the starters. On Sunday, a 16-6 blowout loss, it was so bad that reliever Justin Campbell’s performance (4.1 innings, 5 runs) seemed like a gift from the gods.
The other relievers fared no better in an absolute brutal beat down from UC-Santa Barbara (11-2), a team that hadn’t really hit the ball that well before getting to the Big Easy to feast on beignets and the Green Wave pitching staff.
Yours truly was sending out tweets on Friday afternoon talking about the Green Wave’s chances of sweeping the series never thinking it was even remotely possible that Tulane would get swept. But, here we are, with the sobering reality that this team has now lost its two biggest series of the season and both series were played in the friendly confines of Turchin Stadium.
Tulane is seemingly in a pickle with their pitching staff. I was going to write about how the coaching staff should have been more aggressive with yanking starters because, to me, it seemed like they didn’t even think about removing Friday starter Kaleb Roper until the team was trailing by four runs. But, after the staff’s performance on Sunday, maybe the coaches are just terrified to go to the bullpen.
Sometimes folks just want to rush something, right? Last week I was penciling W’s all throughout the remaining schedule. I’m just a fan, OK? But, in reality, this team might only be at that level where they beat the teams they are supposed to and lose to the ones they’re supposed to lose to.
The Green Wave will try to get back on track this Tuesday versus McNeese State (10-6).
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Gnarly Barley Brewing’s “Jucifer” IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Lady Gaga – “Bad Romance”
Around the Way
Life is all about making the most of opportunities and former Tulane Green Wave running back Sherman Badie is doing it well in the AAF with the Memphis Express. In Badie’s short time in the league he’s already put up some highlight reel material including a 56-yard catch and run to put the Express in the red zone in 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Legends.