Feb. 20, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Greer Field at Turchin Stadium couldn't hole the only pitch that Frank Florio saw on Sunday afternoon, as the redshirt-junior hit an eighth inning, pinch hit three-run home run that gave the #25 Tulane baseball team a series clinching 3-2 victory over Sam Houston State. The Sunday afternoon crowd of 3,241 watched as Randy LeBlanc struck out eight in his first career outing and Florio delivered the big hit to account for the TU offense.
LeBlanc, a freshman from Abita Springs, La., made the first start of his career on the mound versus the Bearkats (1-2) and worked out of trouble in the first and third innings to keep the game scoreless heading to the fifth. Tulane (2-1) had their chances early on, too, stranding runners in scoring position in the first, second and third innings.
In the fifth, LeBlanc struck out the first batter of the before Braedon Riley singled to get the inning started. The Riley single was followed by a home run from Chris Andreas to right field and Sam Houston State grabbed the first lead of the ballgame. LeBlanc came right back to get a strikeout and, after another SHSU single, the final out of the inning was recorded on a caught stealing, but the damage was done and the visitors struck first for the third straight game.
In his first start, LeBlanc tossed five innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He fanned eight batters and walked two in the no decision.
With Sam Houston State leading 2-0, Tulane couldn't muster any offense against SHSU starting pitcher Brandon Kimbrel and reliever Michael Oros, until the eighth inning.
In the eighth, a ground out and flyout started the frame, before Jeremy Schaffer had an infield single and Brandon Boudreaux walked. At that point, Sam Houston State changed to right-hander Paul Spinn (0-1) out of the bullpen and head coach Rick Jones countered with redshirt-junior Frank Florio off the bench. The left-handed hitting Florio took a few quick swings in the on deck circle and then strolled to the plate.
Florio wasted no time in getting his hacks in against Spinn, swinging at the first pitch he saw and sending a laser shot to dead center field. Mark Hudson, SHSU's center fielder, turned and raced towards the wall and the ball sailed into the batter's eye for Florio's first home run as a Greenie.
Alex Facundus (1-0) came on in relief of Alex Byo in the eighth inning and recorded a pair of outs, before Florio's home run in the bottom of the inning, and claimed his first colligate win on the mound. Byo tossed 2.1 innings in relief of LeBlanc and fanned three, while allowing only two hits.
Senior Nick Pepitone made his second straight appearance and locked down his first save of the 2011 campaign with a perfect ninth inning.
Boudreaux, Blake Crohan and Jeremy Schaffer all reach base twice in the contest, with Boudreaux and Schaffer each collecting hits. Boudreaux walked and Schaffer was hit by a pitch, while Crohan reached on an error and walked. Florio drove in three RBI's and hit his seventh career home run - with six of them coming during his time at Stetson.
The Green Wave will hit the road for their first road game of the season on Tuesday, Feb. 22 when they travel to Southeastern Louisiana. Tulane will head to Hammond for a 6:00 p.m. first pitch against the Lions.