The UNO and Tulane baseball teams are coming off identical disappointing weekend series, winning their opener but dropping the next two and falling to fifth place in their conferences.
They get a chance to rebound at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Maestri Field in what will be a rare game in New Orleans for both of them during the rest of April.
The Privateers (21-15, 6-6 Southland Conference) continue a three-week out-of-state stretch that started at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. They'll play Southland rival McNeese State this weekend before going out of conference for a midweek game at South Alabama and a series at Little Rock.
The Green Wave (10-26, 4-5 American Athletic Conference) begins back-to-back conference road series at Cincinnati this weekend, gets a game at Turchin Stadium next Tuesday against Southern Miss and travels to No. 14-ranked East Carolina to close the month.
Neither team will compromise its weekend success by using any pitcher to significant length Tuesday — that is the reality of modern-day college baseball — but the Privateers would love to complete a season sweep after reclaiming the Pelican Cup with two wins at Turchin Stadium in March.
UNO took all three games in 2019, too, and coach Blake Dean is 9-4 against the Wave since the trophy competition was restored in 2018.
“It gives us a little something extra to play for and a little excitement,” Dean said. “We got that trophy back and take pride in that. It’s big to have the city bragging rights for a year.”
Any victory would feel good at this point for Tulane, which has its worst record through 36 games since it started playing that many in 1975. The mark is one game worse than its 11-25 start in 1990 on the way to a 19-35 finish.
A nonconference strength of schedule ranked the 17th-most difficult in the country through Monday is a contributing factor.
“I feel like we’re close,” third baseman Simon Baumgardt said after the Wave rallied from a four-run deficit to tie Wichita State in the seventh inning Sunday before falling 7-4. “If anything should be encouraging, it’s that we were able to come back from down four. We can take positives out of that.”
UNO would be tied for first with Incarnate Word in the Southland if it had swept Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Privateers would at least be alone in second place if they had won one of the final two games. They were 15-3 against the Islanders under Dean until losing Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s been up and down all year,” Dean said. “When the offense hits, our pitchers don’t pitch. When our pitchers pitch, our offense is bleak.”
Dean said he had not picked a starting pitcher for Tuesday, adding it would be a “Johnny Wholestaff” approach as usual.
Tulane likely will go to normal midweek starter Jonah Wachter (1-3, 6.86 ERA), who threw two shutout innings against Wichita State on Friday night. He pitched March 29 against UNO, allowing two runs in three innings and leaving with a 4-2 lead before the Privateers scored 14 runs in a row to win going away.
“We’re going to try to ride him as long as we can ride it, and then it will be bullpen by committee,” Tulane coach Jay Uhlman said. “If you get one (inning from each reliever), you get one. That’s probably the route we’ll go.”
UNO has won four consecutive midweek games, beating Southern Miss, Tulane, Jackson State and Dillard while giving up four or fewer runs each time. … This is the Wave’s last opportunity to beat a team from Louisiana after going 0-2 against the Privateers and 0-1 against LSU and UL. Its only remaining nonconference games are a home-and home against Southern Miss and at South Alabama. … UNO has taken the revived Pelican Cup in three of the four years the teams have played a full three-game schedule, winning it in 2018, 2019 and this season. Tulane got the cup in 2021 when the teams played once because of COVID-10 nonconference restrictions. The Wave retained it last year by winning two of three.