March 4, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - The bullpen has been the major story for the Tulane baseball team all season, but on Sunday (March 4) the Green Wave offense rallied for seven runs against the Alabama bullpen to claim a 7-2 victory in front of a season-best crowd of 3,495 fans inside Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Nick Schneeberger's seventh inning grand slam lifted the Green Wave into the lead for the first time in the game and Alex Facundus picked up his tenth career win out of the bullpen.
"A win's a win," said head coach Rick Jones. "I think we got (a little) frustrated (early in the game), but I think that separates us from a year or two ago when we were younger. We know that the past doesn't equal the future. Our guys kept competing at the plate and we kept ourselves in (the game). (Alex) Facundus really gave us a good effort out of the bullpen and Frank Florio really gave us a lift there in the sixth. I thought today was one of the better atmospheres you will find in college baseball. You got a sun-splash crowd. You had two really good teams going at it and we had a huge, great crowd today."
The two teams were scoreless through three innings, with both starting pitchers working in and out of trouble. Alabama (5-6) turned a pair of double plays to keep the contest scoreless, while Tulane (10-2) Alex Massey struck out two batters and benefitted from a double play of his own to send the game to the fourth inning tied at zero.
Massey would work into trouble again in the sixth inning, surrendering back-to-back singles with two outs, before being replaced by Facundus. Alabama pinch hitter Jon Kelton singled to center field off of the TU reliever and the visitors had a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth.
That is when the Green Wave would mount their comeback against the Crimson Tide bullpen. Alabama starting pitcher Justin Kamplain allowed just two hits - walking four - in five scoreless innings of work and was replaced by Nathan Kennedy in the sixth. Kennedy struck out Jeremy Schaffer to start the inning, but Schneeberger and Blake Crohan singled to get the rally started. After another strikeout, Frank Florio pinch-hit and lined a double into the right-center field gap to score both runners and knot the game at two runs apiece.
The tide turned in the seventh inning when Brennan Middleton doubled down the left field line - extending his hitting streak to nine games - and Brandon Boudreaux walked to put two runners on with one out. After a sacrifice bunt, Jeremy Schaffer was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring Schneeberger to the plate. Schneeberger swung and missed at the first pitch he saw from Alabama reliever Ian Gardeck, but he made solid contact on the next one, sending it over the left field fence to give Tulane a 6-2 lead.
"When you've got a guy batting as well as Nick (Schneeberger) you feel more comfortable (bunting the runners over)," said Jones. "He is a senior who's swinging the bat pretty well. (Nick) put a good swing on it, but their guy had to pitch to him because he couldn't afford to walk him."
Schaffer would add the final RBI of the game when he reached on a fielders choice in the eighth, scoring Woodson, and Tulane would capture their third series victory in as many tries to open the 2012 season.
Massey was charged with both runs allowed, throwing five and two-thirds innings with five strikeouts. The freshman walked three and struck out five, while allowing seven hits. Facundus picked up his second win of the season - tenth of his career - with two and one-thirds scoreless innings. D.J. Ponder came on to collect the final three outs of the game, walking one and striking out two batters.
The offense - which has not been out-hit all season - came through again for the Olive and Blue. Schneeberger and Woodson each posted multi-hit games, while Boudreaux tied the single game school record with four walks in the contest. Schneeberger now has five game winning hits in his career on the Uptown campus and ranks second on the team with 13 RBIs in 2012.
The next contest for Tulane will take place on Tuesday, March 6 when the Green Wave and LSU continue their long-standing rivalry with an early season meeting on the turf inside Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. and will be carried live on CST.
- Bowen Woodson extended his hitting streak to six games with a second inning single.
- Jeremy Schaffer has reached base safely in all 12 games this season, with a walk on Sunday versus Alabama.
- Brennan Middleton has reached base in all 12 games and extended his hitting streak to nine games with a seventh inning double.
- Sean Potkay extended his streak to six straight games with at least one walk, grabbing a base on balls in the seventh inning.
- Alex Facundus picked up his second win of the season - tenth of his career - with the victory on Sunday versus Alabama.
- Brandon Boudreaux's four walks are tied for the single game record at Tulane, 21 others have walked four times in a game while wearing the Olive and Blue.
- Tulane's bullpen has captured seven wins in 2012 (7-0).