March 3, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - A five run first inning for Alabama proved too much for the Tulane baseball team on Saturday (March 3) as the Green Wave saw their five game winning streak come to an end in their 6-2 loss on the turf of Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The two teams each chipped out nine hits, but Alabama took the early lead and will set up a series deciding game on Sunday.
Today was a tough day to hit for both teams," said head coach Rick Jones. "Obviously, the ball was not carrying and I thought we put a lot of good swings on (some pitches), but there (starting pitcher) was very good at managing the strike zone and took advantage of (the strike zone). I thought David (Napoli) did the exact same thing, but we had the two errors in the third inning that allowed them to score another run. (David) pitched really well for us. The bottom line was that we were down so early and that takes away all of your action (on the base paths) and you can't be as aggressive as you want to be. (The elements) made it a tough day to get down so much, because we knew their (starting pitcher) was going to be a strike thrower."
The Crimson Tide (5-5) scored five runs on five hits against Tulane (9-2) starting pitcher Tyler Mapes and those early runs proved to be enough on a blustery day. Two of the first four batters reached base and Alabama's 5-8 hitters all produced RBIs in the first inning. Austen Smith and Josh Rosecrans each plated runs singles, while Ben Moore doubled to make it 4-0 in factor of the visitors. Brett Booth added the fifth RBI of the afternoon with a single and Mapes' start was over after just two outs.
The lead was 6-0 after three innings, but the Green Wave's offense got a run back in the fourth. Jeremy Schaffer led off the inning with a double and Nick Schneeberger singled to put runners on the corners. Pinch hitter Frank Florio then grounded into a double play and Schaffer scored to make it 6-1.
Tulane loaded the bases on three walks from Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan in the fifth, but the right-hander was able to escape the trouble unscathed.
Napoli sat down 15 of the 17 batters that he faced from the fourth inning to the eighth inning to give the Green Wave offense the opportunity to come back. The left-hander allowed an unearned run on four hits and four walks. He fanned three and tied his career high with 104 pitches in the outing. Kyle McKenzie struck out the last two batters of the game, replacing Napoli with the bases loaded and one out in the inning.
After a walk to Sean Potkay and a single from Bowen Woodson, Middleton drove in the second run of the game for Tulane in the seventh inning. The junior doubled down the left field line to score Potkay, but UA reliever Jake Hubbard entered the game and got a double play ball, with Woodson getting thrown out trying to tag on a fly ball to right field, and Garrett Cannizaro struck out to end the inning.
"I wasn't disappointed with our approach at the plate," said Jones, "even in the ninth inning we hit three balls hard for outs. It was just a tough day and, when you get down early on a day like today, that doesn't help. It was a disappointing loss, but I credit Alabama."
Overall, Tulane and Alabama each collected nine hits and walked five times, but the Crimson Tide managed to group their hits in the opening frame. The Green Wave pitching staff struck out six batters on the afternoon, but Alabama turned three double plays in the field, including throwing a runner out at the plate.
Middleton extend hitting streak to eight games, going three-for-four, and has now driven in an RBI in each of his last five games. Schaffer and Schneeberger each had two hits and Potkay reached base three times with a single and two walks.
After splitting the first two games the Green Wave will look to claim their third straight series victory when the two teams meet for the series finale on Sunday, March 4. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 on the Turf at Turchin.
- Brennan Middleton extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the third inning; it also extended his on-base streak to 11 games.
- Middleton's seventh inning RBI extended his streak to five straight contests with a run batted in.
- Sean Potkay walked twice on Saturday to post his fourth straight game with at least one walk.
- Jeremy Schaffer has reached base in all 11 games in 2012 with a two hits in the Saturday contest versus Alabama.
- David Napoli tossed a career-high 7 2/3 innings on Saturday versus Alabama and tied his career-high for pitches in a game (104).