Freshman Hunter Hope collected three hits in Saturday's doubleheader against UAPB
Feb. 15, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane baseball returned to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium bright and early on Saturday morning to kickoff a doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff after a season-opening win, and the Green Wave replicated their Friday success by coming out on top in both contests, winning 3-1 and 3-2 against the Golden Lions.
Redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc attempted to match the opening-day performance of freshman J.P. France, and LeBlanc came awfully close for Tulane (3-0). In 6.0 innings, the Abita Springs, La., native fanned six batters while walking just one and allowing three hits in his first victory of the 2014 season.
At the dish, freshman third baseman Hunter Hope led the offensive charge for the Green Wave, collecting two hits and two RBI, while Bowen Woodson, Nick DiMaggio, Stephen Alemais and Garrett Deschamp all posted a hit.
In game two of the twin bill, Tulane fell behind early on in the seven-inning contest, but the bats woke up to push UAPB's (0-3) starting pitcher off the mound after just 2.0 innings, thanks in part to a big third inning from the bats of Deschamp and DiMaggio. Senior Tyler Mapes got the start on the mound, and although he started shaky, he pitched strong in the third and fourth innings.
"I thought Tyler pitched really well in the fourth inning (of game two of the doubleheader)," stated Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "He's not even a year removed from having Tommy John surgery, so he is still finding his way out there."
Game one saw LeBlanc (1-0) struggle in the first inning before settling down and taking control of the contest. He allowed two hits in the first inning, but then allowed just one more through the next five.
The Green Wave took the game's first lead in the bottom of the third after Woodson doubled and was brought home on an RBI-single from Hope.
"Randy really took over on the mound after we got that lead," added Jones. "He got command of his pitches and he did a really good job."
Tulane notched an insurance run in the sixth when Deschamp doubled down the left field line and came home on an error by UAPB's catcher. In the bottom of the seventh, Hope struck again. After Woodson walked and moved to second on a groundout, Hope posted his second RBI-single of the contest, scoring Woodson from second base.
Senior pitcher Kyle McKenzie - who will see most of his time out of the bullpen in 2014 - came on in relief of LeBlanc in the top of the seventh frame. Although he walked two batters and allowed a run in the top of the eighth, the Boston native was able to strike out three, including the final batter of the game, for his first career save.
UAPB's Mikey Ramirez (0-1) was credited with the loss in game one after pitching 6.0 innings and allowing five hits and one earned run.
In the second contest of the day, UAPB came out despite two straight strikeouts to leadoff the game from Mapes' (1-0) arm. Andre Davis notched a single and reached second on an error in the Tulane outfield before Isias Alcantar brought him home on an RBI-single. The Golden Lions put another run on the board in the next frame as Joshua Cassidy singled and scored on a double off the bat of Mitch Bruckshaw.
Tulane finally got on the board in the bottom of the second when freshman Lex Kaplan reached on a fielder's choice before moving to third on a walk and a single. With the bases loaded, UAPB starter Redmond Floyd balked in Kaplan for the first run of the game.
Like LeBlanc, Mapes settled down after facing some adversity early in the contest. He only allowed two more base runners during the next two innings, including an intentional walk to the hot-hitting Davis.
It helped that the Green Wave put a couple of more runs on the board in the third frame to take the lead once and for all. Floyd walked Carthon and Alemais before being pulled in favor of Skyler Henson. Senior Andrew Garner walked to load the bases before Deschamp brought Carthon home on a sacrifice fly. DiMaggio singled off Henson (0-1) during the next at-bat to score Alemais from second base to give Tulane the 3-2 lead.
Sophomore reliever Emerson Gibbs took the mound in the top of the fifth inning and allowed only two hits across the two frames to earn his first career save.
"I was really impressed with the way Emerson came in and sunk the ball in game two," added Jones. "We didn't play as well as we did yesterday, but we did take care of the baseball in some key situations."
DiMaggio collected a double in game two of the doubleheader in addition to his third-inning single, giving him a double in three-straight contests. Woodson and Hope both singled in game two.
Freshman Corey Merrill will make his Tulane debut on the mound on Sunday for the Green Wave for the series-finale against UAPB on Sunday at 1pm CT at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRBH.
Season ticket and single game tickets for the 2014 Tulane baseball season are now on sale. Interested parties can call 504-861-WAVE (9283) for more information on tickets, or they may visit the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.