Feb. 22, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Despite outhitting Notre Dame seven to four and loading the bases in the bottom of the ninth, Tulane fell short in Friday night's match against the Fighting Irish, 2-1, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Redshirt sophomore Tony Rizzotti pitched six solid innings, but gave up a two-run homer to Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo in the sixth that ended up being the deciding factor in the contest. However, Rizzotti (1-1) struck out six and allowed only four hits on a night where mist fell for a majority of the night.
Trailing by one in the ninth, Tulane loaded the bases with one out, but seniors Brennan Middleton, Brandon Boudreaux and Sean Potkay were left stranded by Notre Dame closer Dan Slania, who was credited with his first save of the season.
"We had a couple of miscues on the bases that I know the fans wouldn't recognize, but I know, and in a close ball game, those are the things that can come back and haunt you," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones.
Notre Dame's Sean Fitzgerald didn't put up the numbers that Rizzotti did, striking out only two and allowing the same number of hits. However, Fitzgerald was credited with the win, and his performance impressed Tulane head coach Rick Jones.
"I'm tipping my hat to (Sean) Fitzgerald," said Jones. "He really pitched well for them."
It was a pitcher's duel towards the beginning of the game, with Rizzotti and Fitzgerald retiring their respective sides in both the second and third innings. Rizzotti allowed Charlie Markson and Trey Mancini on base with a walk and a single to start the fourth, but he retired the remainder of the order to get out of the inning. In the fifth, the Arlington, Texas, native struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Forrest Johnson. However, Johnson was thrown out at second on a steal attempt by freshman catcher Cameron Burns.
Rizzotti finished the sixth inning after giving up the go-ahead homer to Jagielo. In the seventh, freshman Daniel Rankin made his collegiate debut, pitching two and a third innings in relief, allowing no hits and striking out one.
Trailing by two in the seventh, Middleton - who collected three hits in the game - singled, eventually advancing to third on a single by senior Garrett Cannizaro. Potkay brought him home for Tulane's lone run on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Brady Wilson came on in relief of Rankin in the top of the ninth, retiring the only two batters he faced.
The top of Tulane's order started off the ninth, and Middleton did not disappoint after he collected his third base hit of the game. Middleton advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Briggs Barrios, and Slania walked Boudreaux before allowing a single to Potkay to load the bases.
Looking to bring some runs home, Cannizaro hit two hard rips down the right field line, but both went foul. He unfortunately went down on strikes, and junior Andrew Garner popped up to centerfield to end the game.
Saturday's 2pm CST tilt will pit senior Alex Byo (0-0) attempt to match his seven strikeout performance from last week when he faces the Fighting Irish - who will send righty Adam Norton (1-0) to the mound.
Tulane will send Kyle McKenzie (0-0) to the mound during the final game of the series - to be held at noon CST on Sunday - against Notre Dame freshman righty David Hearne (0-1).
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