March 9, 2012
WICHITA, Kan. - The Green Wave had their chance, but they couldn't capitalize in a 3-2 series opening loss for the Tulane Baseball team to Wichita State on Friday (March 9) afternoon inside Eck Stadium. The two teams each collected five hits, but the Olive and Blue were done in by seven walks and could get the bases loaded hit in the ninth inning.
"They had five hits, we had five hits," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones, "and nobody made an error. The difference was seven free passes that we gave up...two of them led to runs. We had the bases loaded in the ninth and weren't able to push (the tying run) across. That is why you can't get too excited one way or another. We got off to a good start offensively, but we have had just eight hits in the last 18 innings. When that happens, you better really pitch well and play well defensively. We didn't swing (the bats) well enough today to offset (the seven walks)."
The Green Wave got on the board with a run in the first inning versus Wichita State (9-6) starting pitcher Mitch Mormann. Brandon Boudreaux walked to lead off the game, advanced to second on a ground out and came in to score on a two-out RBI double off the bat of senior Nick Schneeberger.
The Shockers added two runs in the first inning with their own two-out hitting against TU starting pitcher Randy LeBlanc. The freshman retired the first two batters, but a walk to Johnny Coy was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Casey Gillaspie and WSU was out to an early lead they would not relinquish.
With the scoring sitting at 3-1 in favor of the home squad, Tulane (10-4) pulled within one when senior Jeremy Schaffer took Mormann out of the ballpark to left field. Schaffer led off the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field, his third of the season, to give him 35 career longballs and pull TU within one run at 3-2.
LeBlanc threw into the seventh inning, but was replaced by Alex Facundus after a leadoff single to Garrett Bayliff. Bayliff was promptly erased when Schaffer gunned him down trying to steal second base and the sophomore reliever retired five of the final six batters he faced, with one walk.
The ninth inning got a little dicey for Wichita State closer Cale Elam, when he loaded the bases with one out. Blake Crohan singled to start the frame and, with one out, Frank Florio singled and Bowen Woodson walked. Brennan Middleton popped up to the first baseman and Brandon Boudreaux struck out swinging and Elam grabbed his third save of the year in dramatic fashion.
In the game, Schaffer extended his reached base streak to 14 games, while Sean Potkay walked twice - giving him 14 total on the season - and has now reached base in nine straight games. Boudreaux reached base twice in the contest, as did Schneeberger.
LeBlanc (1-1) took the loss on the mound with three runs allowed on three hits. He walked six batters and fanned three batters in his fourth start of the season. Facundus finished his outing with two scoreless innings and a walk.
"We have to get back to our approach at the plate that we had earlier in the season," said Jones. "This is a very critical point for this program and we need to come out tomorrow and find a way to be better."
Tulane will try to even the series with a victory on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. The Green Wave will send David Napoli (1-0) to the mound against Albert Minnis (1-1) for the Shockers at Eck Stadium.
- This was the fourth straight one-run game that Tulane and Wichita State played.
- Jeremy Schaffer extended his reached base streak to 14 games on Sunday.
- Sean Potkay walked twice to extend his reached base streak to nine games and now has five games with two-plus walks this season.
- Schaffer hit his 35th career home run in the fifth inning and is one home run shy of cracking the Tulane career top-ten list in home runs.
- Randy LeBlanc tied his career high with six innings pitched (George Washington, 2/27/11).
- Alex Facundus has allowed just one run in 10 2/3 innings of work this season to go along with nine strikeouts.
- Facundus didn't allow the inherited runner to score today and the bullpen has allowed just two of 18 inherited runners to cross the plate.