March 8, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Taking the field in the top of the seventh inning after a questionable call at first base in the bottom of the sixth, the umpire crew sent Tulane back to the plate after reversing the call where the Green Wave subsequently loaded the bases and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by freshman Tim Yandel for the 3-2 win over High Point at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Friday night.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Tulane (8-7) junior Andrew Garner hit a slow roller towards the gap between second base and shortstop. High Point (6-8) shortstop Willie Medina was forced to range far to his left, and after getting the ball and throwing off-balanced, first baseman Ryan Retz was pulled off the bag. However, first base umpire Eddie Newsome called Garner out, and the teams switched sides.
Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones came out of the dugout to talk with Newsome, but not before his team took their place in the field. Tulane starting pitcher Tony Rizzotti even threw a warm up pitch. After a quick conference among the umpires, the call was reversed, sending Tulane back to the plate and High Point back to the field.
"I said, `What did you see? Are you sure he was on the bag?'" said Jones. "I'd be less than honest if I told you that I had ever seen that before. The important thing is to get the call right, and they got the call right."
After Garner took his rightful place at first base, senior Blake Crohan singled to the outfield, putting two runners on. Senior Garrett Cannizaro walked with a full count to load the bags, and Yandel brought what would be the game winning run home on a single that he beat out from the shortstop.
The other major factor in tonight's contest was Rizzotti, who earned his third win on the year in just four starts. The redshirt sophomore from Arlington, Texas, pitched eight innings, allowing only five hits striking out five. The only blemish on his performance came in the first inning, when he allowed four hits and two runs, doubling his run total on the year.
After allowing a leadoff single to Medina - who was caught stealing during the next at-bat - and striking out Sly Edwards, Rizzotti uncharacteristically allowed three straight hits to Josh Spano, Brett Gemmell and Ryan Retz, with Retz's being a two-RBI double that allowed High Point to take the early lead.
"High Point got good swings off early," added Jones. "I don't know if we were tipping something off or what, but they were on some balls that maybe they shouldn't have been on. We made some adjustments quickly on that, and then Tony got in his rhythm."
High Point's starting pitcher, Jacob Newberry, pitched very well on the evening, but he too gave up a two-run inning with his coming in the bottom of the second. Senior Sean Potkay lead off and reached base after being plunked by Newberry (0-2), and the Bozeman, Mont., native reached second on a single by Garner. Crohan advanced both runners on a groundout to the pitcher, and Cannizaro brought both of them home on a single up the middle to tie the game.
The two starters dueled through the bottom of the sixth, when Newberry retired senior Brandon Boudreaux on a grounder and sat Potkay down swinging. However the game changed quickly when Garner was called out, brought back, and eventually came around to score what would be the game-winning run.
"I've never seen that before," said Garner. "I didn't even know they could do that. I'm glad it helped us win."
Rizzotti came back out after Tulane secured the lead, and he retired the side in the seventh and eighth innings. Freshman Ian Gibaut came on in the ninth - allowing two singles after retiring the first two batters. However, he struck out pinch hitter Blake Hutton for the final out, earning his second save in the process.
The series will continue on Saturday at 2pm CST, when Tulane will start senior Alex Byo on the mound, countering High Point pitcher Sean Townsley. The series will conclude on Sunday at 1pm CST. After the game on Sunday, Green Wave student-athletes will shave their heads to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. The team has been raising funds for the Vs. Cancer Foundation, an organization that Jones' nephew Chase Jones recently founded. Chase Jones is a pediatric cancer survivor, being diagnosed with a brain tumor during his freshman year of college at the University of North Carolina.
The Vs. Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving kids' lives by empowering athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts. The money raised by Tulane's athletes will be split in half, with one half going to fund research at the national level and the other half going to a local childhood cancer hospital.
Both games will be broadcast on 106.1 The Ticket, Tulane baseball's new flagship station. Live stats will be made available throughout the weekend at TulaneGreenWave.com
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.