March 8, 2014
BERKELEY, Calif. - Tulane baseball kicked off their weekend at the Cal Baseball Classic in Berkeley, Calif., with ten unanswered runs in the last five innings during the series-opening contest against host-team Cal, winning 10-5 on Friday evening at Evans Diamond.
Down 5-0 with two outs on the board in the top of the fifth, the Tulane (9-3) bats came alive as the Green Wave scored seven runs against Cal (8-4) righty starter Daulton Jeffries, eventually chasing him from the mound. The seven runs scored in the fifth were a single-inning season-high for the Green Wave, and the most runs scored in an inning by the Green Wave since they scored 10 in the first frame against Brown on March 17, 2012 in a 20-2 victory.
Tulane collected 13 hits in the contest, and were led by junior second baseman Garrett Deschamp, who went 3-for-5 with four RBI and a double. Freshman third baseman Hunter Hope went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, and senior first baseman Bowen Woodson (2-for-5) and freshman catcher Jake Rogers (2-for-4) also added multi-hit contests for the Green Wave.
On top of the offense igniting at a crucial moment, the Green Wave got another solid outing from senior righty Kyle McKenzie out of the bullpen. The Boston native struck out seven across 5.0 innings in relief to pick up his second victory of the season.
"Things sort of looked bleak, especially after what happened last weekend, but that is why you play 27 outs," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "(Daulton Jefferies) is a great pitcher who had great numbers in his first two starts, and we had a big inning off him."
In the top of the fifth, sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon singled in a run with two outs to start the offensive onslaught for Tulane's first run, scoring Woodson from third, who reached on a fielder's choice. Freshman Lex Kaplan, who also reached on a fielder's choice, scored on an RBI single off the bat of freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais. With the bases loaded, Deschamp tied things up on a bases-clearing double off the left field wall. Hope then tattooed a pitch over the left-center wall to put Tulane ahead for good. Jeffries, who had not given up a single run at home on the season before Friday's contest, was pulled at that point.
Jeffries (2-1) allowed seven hits and seven earned runs in 4.2 innings and was credited with the loss.
Things did look bleak early in the contest, as redshirt senior righty Tyler Mapes had trouble getting his footing down on the wet mound after coming off a career performance against Nicholls State. Mapes hit four batters and gave up six hits in just 3.2 innings of play.
Cal's Derek Campbell scored the game's first run in the bottom of the second, when he hit his second home run of the season - a solo shot - off Mapes. Later in the frame, a Golden Bear reached base on an error before Mapes hit three batters, allowing a run, and delivering a wild pitch for the third run of the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth Mapes allowed back-to-back singles, one scoring a run to give Cal a 4-0 lead before he was replaced on the bump by freshman Corey Merrill. The righty allowed an RBI-single to Devon Rodriguez before getting out of the inning.
McKenzie (2-0) took the mound in the top of the fifth, and he picked up where he left off last weekend against Sacred Heart when he tied a career-high in strikeouts with eight. McKenzie allowed just five hits over five innings, and looked in control from the moment he stepped on the hill.
"Kyle was just outstanding," said Jones. "Just outstanding."
The Green Wave continued hitting well, as they poked three consecutive doubles off reliever Dylan Nelson in the top of the seventh, including a shot down the left field line by Deschamp that scored Garner for Tulane's eighth run. After senior designated hitter Nick DiMaggio had an RBI-groundout for the second run in the top of the seventh, Nelson was replaced on the mound by Alex Schick. He allowed an RBI-single to Rogers through the left side, scoring Hope from third to give Tulane their fourth double-digit run contest of 2014.
McKenzie got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the eighth with two outs as the Golden Bears loaded the bases, putting the tying run in the on-deck circle. With Campbell at the dish, McKenzie broke off a curveball that caught Campbell looking for the third strike, ending Cal's final true threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, McKenzie struck out the side to preserve the victory for the Green Wave.
"That was big pickup for Kyle to go out in the ninth for us," added Jones. "We came out here for a reason. We have to turn things around and play early tomorrow and early on Sunday. We have to have a short memory and do the same thing tomorrow."
Tulane will return to Evans Diamond on Saturday for a contest against nationally-ranked Arkansas, who dropped game one of the tournament, 2-1, to San Francisco earlier Friday. Tulane will send redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc to the mound, while lefty Colin Poche will start for the Razorbacks. Poche's grandfather, Jim Poche, played football for Tulane.
The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRBH, and live stats can be followed on TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.