Grant Witherspoon, Tulane

Fall Report: Tulane

Fall Report

Moving to a new program can have a distinct set of challenges, and sometimes those challenges are too much to overcome before it’s too late.

That’s precisely how you could describe Travis Jewett’s first season Tulane’s head coach. Though the Green Wave returned several key cogs from a club that ended the 2016 season in the NCAA tournament, they also lost some key players. Those departures, in addition to some veterans not rising to the occasion last season, spelled doom during the early part of the season. Tulane had a 9-15 overall record entering a midweek bout against in-state rival LSU. And while the Green Wave won that midweek contest against the Tigers and won back-to-back series against South Florida and Connecticut to seemingly turn the corner, it was simply too late as they finished the season with a 27-31 overall record and failed to reach the postseason.

What’d the Green Wave learn from last season?

“We felt pretty good about the way fall workouts transpired. This is obviously a new team, as we brought in 20 new players. We are replacing a lot of guys from last year’s team, but it was necessary. We brought in a bunch of junior college players, one grade transfer, and we’ve also got a few high school guys mixed in there,” Jewett said. “We’ve got a pretty good combination of those things. We liked how the team looked this fall and it wasn’t one of those situations where we were just banking on high school players to make the biggest impact.”

There’s no doubt the Green Wave has some important holes to fill during the upcoming season, too. For instance, Tulane must replace its top three hitters in Hunter Williams, Grant Brown and Lex Kaplan, while much has been made of veteran outfielder Grant Witherspoon, who put together a strong fall and is expected to be the offensive ringleader in the spring.

Tulane also has some holes to fill on the mound. J.P. France has since transferred to Mississippi State as a graduate student, while sure-handed Corey Merrill, who had an uncharacteristic and below-average campaign last season, has since moved on with his career. The good news? There are some quality options available. Juco product and righthander Ryan Green showed some serious promise during fall workouts, while others such as Ross Massey are expected to step up after less than stellar 2017 campaigns.

What’s the scoop on Tulane after fall workouts? It’s time to find out.

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