Feb. 26, 2013
THIBODAUX, La. - Tulane's baseball squad fell to Nicholls State, 6-5, on Tuesday night at Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux, La.
The contest was back-and-forth through the last few innings, and Tulane (3-5) nearly retook the lead in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded before striking out to end the game.
Tulane took the lead in the third, going up 1-0, before Nicholls (6-2) put three runs on the board in the fourth and another in the fifth. The Green Wave responded in the sixth when senior Brennan Middleton came around the bags to score on a single by senior Sean Potkay, and added to that when junior Andrew Garner hit a three-run homer to left field later in the inning. Tulane relinquished the lead in the eighth on an RBI triple by the Colonels David Zorn, who came around to score on the same play due to a throwing error.
"We didn't take care of the ball in the eighth inning like we needed to," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "Andrew Garner had a big hit at the time, but we lost the game. We had power arms out there, but we didn't get it done."
Senior Tyler Mapes struck out two in the first and second innings, and in total, struck out six through the first 3.1 innings.
Tulane's bats struggled during the first two innings against Nicholls State lefty Zach Thiac, as they were retired in order in both. However, senior Tucker Oakley got things going in the third when he laced a double to the left field wall. Thiac balked Oakley over to third, and he came home on a single to center field by junior Bowen Woodson.
The Green Wave, hoping to preserve arms for the upcoming weekend series against Alabama, were dealt a blow in the fourth inning when Mapes loaded the bases before asking to come out due to an injury to his arm. Lefty David Napoli came on in relief, and Seth Stevens and Keith Cormier came home to score on a single to second base by Leo Vargas. Zorn, who had moved to third on the infield hit stole home for Nicholls' third, and final, run of the inning.
For the game, Mapes recorded six strikeouts, and walked only one Colonel, one week to the day after striking out seven against Southeastern Louisiana in a 5-3 Green Wave victory.
In the fourth, Nicholls' Philip Lyons came around to score from second base on a grounder back to the pitcher from Keith Cormier. Napoli fielded the ball and tossed it to Potkay, but the speedy Lyons was already turning around third when Potkay caught the ball. The throw to the plate was not in time, and Nicholls went up, 4-1.
Tulane started the sixth inning hot after Middleton reached base on a single and scored on Potkay's single to cut Nicholls' lead to two runs. Then came Garner's three-run blast to left field, only the second home run on the season for the Green Wave.
Napoli (0-1) got out of the sixth and seventh innings unharmed, but faced trouble in the eighth with one man on and Zorn up to the plate. Zorn - who collected two hits and a walk in addition to his two runs scored - laced a shot down the right field line that was almost caught by a diving Briggs Barrios. However, the ball caromed off the tip of his glove into foul territory, and Zorn was heading to third when Potkay attempted to throw him out from the right foul territory. Potkay's throw went over senior Garrett Cannizaro's head, and Zorn came around to score what would become the final run of the game for the Colonels.
The Green Wave had one last shot to put a run on the board in the top of the ninth, and nearly did so, when freshman Tim Yandel collected his second hit of the game with one out. Freshman Richard Carthon replaced Yandel on the base paths, and he advanced to second when junior Bowen Woodson grounded out to first base. Middleton notched a single that moved Carthon to third before junior transfer Max Goodman - making his Tulane debut - was awarded first base on a catcher's interference. Potkay came to the plate with the bases loaded, and worked the count to 3-0, but was caught looking at two very close pitches before swinging at the final pitch of the game.
As a team, Tulane recorded eight hits, with two coming each from Yandel and Middleton, as well as one a piece from Potkay, Garner, Oakley and Woodson.
Napoli, who was credited with the loss, pitched 4.2 innings and struck out eight. Nicholls' Chris Miller was given the win - his first decision of the season - pitching two innings in relief. Jordan McCoy earned his first save of the season after pitching in the ninth inning.
Tonight's loss marked the first time Tulane dropped a contest to Nicholls State since March 14, 2006, when Tulane lost, 7-4, to the Colonels at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La.
The Green Wave will return home to play New Orleans tomorrow at 3pm CST at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. UNO is currently on 0-8 on the season after facing three tough squads in Southeast Missouri State, Arkansas and South Alabama.
Left handed senior Stone Speer will get the start for the Privateers on the mound. He is 0-1 on the season, with a 9.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts and five walks.
The Green Wave will face one of their former assistants in James Jurries, who is now an assistant coach for the Privateers. Jurries spent the last two seasons at the Uptown campus after playing five seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization. He played his collegiate ball at Tulane from 1999-2002 and was named the National Freshman of the Year from three different publications in 1999.
Tim Grubbs will handle play-by-play duties for the contest against New Orleans on Tulane's flagship station, WMTI 106.1 FM.
For tickets to the New Orleans game, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office. The Ticket Office is located on the first floor of the Wilson Center on Ben Weiner Drive, and tickets can be purchased in person, over the phone at 504-861-WAVE (9283) or via the Internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
You can follow Green Wave baseball on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.