March 2, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Another outstanding pitching performance from senior Alex Byo and a huge day at the plate from senior Sean Potkay lifted Tulane's baseball squad to a 6-2 victory over the Crimson Tide of Alabama on Saturday in Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Byo (1-1), a senior from Baton Rouge, La., struck out six over 7.1 innings, allowing only two earned runs and giving Tulane (6-5) their second straight victory over Alabama (7-3).
"Alex Byo was just outstanding," stated Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "Just outstanding. He commanded all three pitches, and he kept the Alabama hitters off stride through a majority of the day."
For the second straight contest, Tulane collected 11 hits, led by Potkay's 3-for-4 outing that included his first home run of the campaign. Freshman Tim Yandel went 2-for-4 at the plate, as did senior Brennan Middleton.
Tulane got on the board first as they scored in the top of the first inning on an RBI double from Potkay that scored senior Brennan Middleton from second base. However, the Crimson Tide countered immediately in the bottom half of the frame when leadoff man Georgie Salem reached on a single, stole second and third and came home on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Ben Moore.
After that, though, Byo was dealing. After Kyle Overstreet reached on Tulane's lone error of the day in the bottom of the second, Byo went on to retire the next nine straight batters he faced.
The Greenies added two more runs in the third to take the lead once and for all, when senior Brandon Boudreaux reached first after getting plunked in the back by Crimson Tide starter Jay Keller. On the next at-bat, Potkay launched an opposite field home run against Keller (2-1) that scored both he and Boudreaux.
"Sean Potkay had a big day for us, no question about that," added Jones. "His home run for us was huge."
Keller was replaced in the top of the sixth by right-handed sophomore Jake Hubbard. Keller struck out 11 and walked only one.
Byo continued his masterful performance in the fifth and six innings, allowing only two base runners. When Salem reached in the sixth, he was called out attempting to steal second due to batter's interference by Crimson Tide freshman Mikey Moore.
In the top of the seventh inning, Tulane capitalized on a few miscues from the Crimson Tide to add three more runs to the board. After junior Bowen Woodson flied out to center field and freshman Cameron Burns struck out, Middleton continued his recent tear, singling through the left side. Yandel then singled up the middle before Boudreaux walked on four straight pitches. Potkay came up to the plate again, but it was the Crimson Tide battery that allowed a few more runs. Hubbard delivered a wild pitch that scored Middleton from third, advancing both runners. As catcher Brett Booth picked up the ball to make a throw to Hubbard - who was covering the plate - he threw it clear over Hubbard's head, allowing Yandel to come around and score, giving Tulane a 5-1 lead. Potkay - finally allowed to get another at-bat in - doubled to left center, scoring Boudreaux from second for the final run on the day for the Green Wave.
Byo came back in the seventh inning, giving up a single to Booth who then advanced to second on a ground out by Overstreet. First baseman Austen Smith singled up the middle to score Booth for their second and final run.
Andrew Garner came in from left field to pitch with one out and two on in the bottom of the eighth. He immediately got Moore to line into a double play to end the inning.
A bright sign on a dreary Alabama afternoon happened in the bottom of the ninth, when senior Blake Crohan replaced Yandel in left field for his first game action since the season opener. Garner loaded the bases on a walk and two singles before Smith lined into the second double play in as many innings for the Crimson Tide before striking out pinch hitter Steven Cole to end the game.
"Garner did not have his best stuff because we got him up in the bullpen last night, but he pounded the strike zone," said Jones. "We turned two line drive double plays, though."
Garner earned his third save on the season, striking out one in 1.2 innings.
Woodson went 1-for-4 at the plate, as did Garner. Boudreaux was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Freshman Richard Carthon - who pinch hit for Tucker Oakley in the designated hitter spot - notched Tulane's other hit on the day.
For the last game of the series Tulane will rely on junior righty Kyle McKenzie to get the third straight win over the Crimson Tide. McKenzie is 1-1 on the year in three appearances with two starts, striking out six and allowing 12 hits in nine innings. Right-handed sophomore Spencer Turnbull will attempt to keep the Crimson Tide sliding even further. He is 0-1 on the year, with a 3.72 ERA in 9.2 innings of pitching.
The baseball game will be broadcast on the flagship station for Tulane athletics, 106.1 The Ticket, following the Tulane women's basketball contest.
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.