Tony Rizzotti pitched in his first game as a member of the Green Wave
Feb. 15, 2013
SAN MARCOS, Texas - Redshirt sophomore right handed pitcher Tony Rizzotti pitched a complete game, one hit shutout to lead Tulane to a 2-0 victory over Sam Houston State during their season opener at the Texas State Tournament in San Marcos, Texas.
On a very chilly evening where the wind was blowing in from right field, Tulane (1-0) had to rely on one of their star transfers as he took to the mound for the first time as a member of the Green Wave. Rizzotti (1-0) dazzled in his first start as a Greenie, hitting 96 miles per hour on the radar gun. Tulane head coach Rick Jones was impressed with what he saw.
"I certainly have not seen a better opening performance in a long, long time," said Jones. "He threw eight more pitches than we planned on him throwing, but he was so smooth. I don't know if you will see a better performance than what you saw tonight."
Having not competed since 2011, Rizzotti was just excited to be back doing what he does best.
"Today was so surreal," said an elated Rizzotti. "I've been dreaming about this for the last year, and tonight was better than any dream I've ever had. It felt great to go out there and have command of all three of my pitches."
Rizzotti's performance marks the first time the Green Wave have pitched a complete game since the 2011 season. It also marks the first opening day shutout since Tulane beat Illinois-Chicago, 6-0, to open the 2008 season.
Rizzotti got things started by inducing three straight groundball outs in the first inning. In the second inning, Rizzotti struck out the first two batters of the inning, and senior first baseman Sean Potkay made a diving stop on a grounder to flip the field
The Green Wave did not take long to get on the scoreboard as senior Blake Crohan laced a double the left field line in the top of the first. Senior Brennan Middleton - who led off with a walk - came around to score on Crohan's line drive, scoring Tulane's first run of the season.
While Tulane wasn't hitting the ball tremendously well, it was because they didn't really have the chance to, as SHSU (0-1) starter Caleb Smith (0-1) walked seven through five innings. Smith did himself in after putting two on in the top of the fifth. Righty Juan Cortina came on in relief to get junior Andrew Garner to line out to center. At that point in the game, the Olive and Blue stranded seven runners.
"You have to give some credit to their pitchers tonight," added Jones. "I'd like to see us hit better with runners at third base."
SHSU didn't reach base until freshman catcher Jessie Plumlee hit a dinker up the middle for a single in the bottom of the third. He stole second with two outs, and advanced to third on an error committed by third baseman Garrett Cannizaro. The threat was quashed when Rizzotti struck out left fielder Luke Plucheck. In the fourth, the right hander from Arlington, Texas, retired the side.
In the top of the seventh, Crohan hit another solid shot through the left side. Freshman Richard Carthon came on as a pinch runner, and the speedy outfielder - who also plays football for the Green Wave - subsequently stole second. Senior Brandon Boudreaux then launched a triple to right field to bring Carthon home for the second run of the game.
Rizzotti stayed strong, retiring the side in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. With the action in the bullpen, Tulane fans thought they might see a new pitcher in the ninth inning. However, the towering righty came back to finish what he started. Two errors by the middle infield on routine grounders didn't deter Rizzotti, as he retired the next three batters for his complete game shutout.
For the game, Rizzotti recorded five strikeouts while only walking one.
Prior to Tulane's contest, Missouri State disposed of Texas State in 11 innings by a score of 3-2 during the first game at Bobcat Stadium.
Tomorrow, the Greenies will play tournament-host Texas State at 1pm CST. Senior righty Alex Byo will take the mound for the Green Wave, after posting a 9-4 record with a 3.38 earned run average during his junior campaign last year. Texas State will send right-handed sophomore Taylor Black to the mound. He finished the 2012 campaign with a 2-3 record to go along with his 3.38 ERA in eight appearances, including seven starts.
Saturday's game will be available on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to paid members of the All-Access Pass.
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