Senior Andrew Garner notched his second home run of the season on Sunday
Feb. 23, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Tulane baseball's offense couldn't manage to replicate the success they had during the last three outings on Sunday, as they dropped their first contest of the season by a score of 5-2 at Louisiana Tech at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston, La.
Tulane (6-1, 2-1) couldn't manage to sweep new Conference USA foe LA Tech (2-4, 1-2), who scored four runs in the bottom of the third with two outs on the board. Tulane starter Alex Massey made his first start since May 12, 2012, but only managed to pitch 2.2 innings. Massey (1-1) allowed six hits and five runs - all earned - before Tulane could get out of the third frame.
With Tulane leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third, the Massey allowed a one-out double to leadoff hitter Colby Johnson of LA Tech. After posting the second out of the inning, Taylor Love, Tyler Ervine and Tyler Qualls all singled and scored, as did Johnson, to put LA Tech ahead once and for all.
LA Tech starting pitcher Richie Navari posted his first career complete game, as he went 9.0 innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five.
"We did not have nearly as many good at-bats today, and the score reflects that," said Tulane baseball head coach. "We had probably one of the most prolific rounds of batting practice as we've had in a long time, and I felt real good about where we were. Unfortunately, it just didn't translate to the game. I thought we were a bit impatient. We reached for some balls. We didn't get good solid contact on a lot of balls."
LA Tech battled back in the second to tie things up when Tyler Ervine singled and scored on an infield out by Chandler Hall. The lead did not last long, though, as senior designated hitter Andrew Garner blasted his second home run of the season in the top of the third to give Tulane their second lead of the day.
After the four runs tallied by the Bulldogs in the third, no runs were scored during the remainder of the contest by either team. Navari was on point, but so was Tulane senior relief pitcher Kyle McKenzie. The Boston, Mass., native fanned six across 4.1 innings while allowing just five hits and no walks.
Sophomore righty Dan Rankin pitched the final inning of the contest, striking out one and allowing just one hit.
"Alex struggled with his command, but I thought Kyle McKenzie did an outstanding job," stated Jones. "We just didn't put much pressure on them."
The four hits for the Green Wave today mark the lowest total in a game so far this season, after posting 12, 13 and 19 in their last three consecutive contests. Garner's home run gives Tulane four on the season - all hit during the weekend series in Ruston - and the two shots by Garner this season match his 2013 season output in the category.
"Any loss is certainly disappointing, but to win the first two like we did and then lose this one after what we looked like in batting practice, I thought we were going to be a force," added Jones. "There is no question it is a disappointing loss. We just have to get back into an offensive mode and come back on Tuesday and see if we can get back on track."
Tulane will return to action on Tuesday as they travel to Thibodaux, La., for a contest against in-state rival Nicholls State. The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRBH, the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season.
Also, Monday marks the first Rick Jones Coach's Show at Desi Vega's Steakhouse at 628 St. Charles Avenue in the heart of the CBD. The show will begin at 12pm CT, and will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRBH.
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