Video: UNO’s Dean, Tulane’s Jewett excited to start 2019 campaigns
Everyone is undefeated with championship dreams right before a season begins. That number includes UNO’s Blake Dean and Tulane’s Travis Jewett just a week before the opening night of the 2019 college baseball season.
The Privateers were one win away from making last year’s NCAA Tournament, falling to Northwestern State in the Southland Conference Tournament final after making a run as eight seed. Heading into his fourth year as head coach, Dean is replacing two-thirds of his starting lineup.
“We’ve got a lot of unproven guys in our lineup so we need those pitchers to step up,” Dean said at Maestri field during UNO’s media day availability Friday. “We’ve got some guys who can hit but the concern is, can we put up enough runs to have a potent offense?”
The Privateers also must replace to starting pitcher Bryan Warzek as part of a new-look weekend rotation. Picked seventh this past week in the conference, UNO will be a work-in-progress early in the season ahead of Southland play. Dean stressed that he likes his roster but knows there will be an adjustment period for first-year players in new roles.
“They’re figuring out who they are but again they’re all new. So even my weekend rotation, everything is going to be guys who have never done it before so they’re going to have to get their feet wet. We’re going to have weather storms at times,” explained Dean.
UNO starts the season next Friday night at 6:30 with the first of a three-game series at home against Michigan State.
Entering his third season at Tulane, Jewett is looking for his first winning campaign at the helm.
“Can’t wait. I try to tell the kids to stay (in the moment) but we’re all excited,” said Jewett at the Green Wave’s media day press conference. “The investment that they’re putting in leading up to the season starting all the way back in the fall (is) tremendous. We talk about every day trying to replicate championship behavior in every thing we do, and I know they are doing that.”
The Green Wave was picked to finish sixth in The American but Jewett believes this year’s squad is his deepest yet.
“I think they thing that is different this year…is that we are more layered, more balanced position-by-position,” explained Jewett.
Local products Kaleb Roper (Rummel) and Keagan Gillis (Brother Martin) are among the top starting pitching options Jewett referenced were he felt the Green Wave “was in good shape.”
With 27 and 25 wins in his first two seasons uptown, Jewett knows wins are now expected to come more frequently for a program used to posting winning seasons and competing for postseason berths.
“That Tulane baseball tradition is out there, and we have to start doing our part,” said Jewett.
Tulane hosts George Washington in a three-game season-opening series starting next Friday night at 6:30.
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As a New Orleans-area native, Jude grew up a fan of all sports and teams in the area. It’s a passion for the games that brought him into the fields of sports broadcasting and journalism. Whether he’s informing, reporting or entertaining, Jude brings his own special flavor to the task at hand. This Jesuit High School and Loyola New Orleans…