The Maple Muscle: Despite a slump, Canadian Tristan Clarke has been a hit with UNO
By Will Peneguy
Special to The New Orleans Advocate
University of New Orleans coach Blake Dean urges his players to be aggressive and seize opportunity.
Tristan Clarke’s presence in a Privateers’ uniform reflects that Dean does as he preaches.
The 6-foot-4 native of Brampton, Ontario, was hitting third in UNO’s lineup when the Privateers (9-7) visit LSU (13-4) Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Leading UNO in home runs (five), doubles (eight) and hits (23), Clarke has a .357 batting average. He doubled and homered when UNO upset LSU 11-8 on Feb. 21 at Privateer Park. Clarke doubled home a run in the first inning in a 7-4 15-innings win before 10,009.
His college career, however, began with little fanfare.
A member of the Canadian National Junior Team, Clarke enrolled at Eastern Oklahoma State Junior College. As a freshman, he hit .176 in only 51 at-bats.
During his sophomore year, Clarke’s team made a trip to LSU-Eunice for a series in early March. UNO recruiting coordinator Brett Stewart was there and liked what he saw.
“I met coach Stewart, and it just clicked,” Clarke said. “I liked him and I liked what he had to say (about UNO).”