March 9, 2014
OAKLAND - Tulane baseball fell to San Francisco, 9-0, at Laney College in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, as the Tulane bats collected just two hits on the day and the Green Wave defense committed two costly errors in the middle innings to open the floodgates for the Dons.
Sunday's contest was a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, as USF's (8-6) Grant Goodman and Tulane's (9-5) Emerson Gibbs only allowed three hits across the first third of the game. Gibbs, who made his first start of the season, didn't have eye-opening numbers through the first three, but he was highly effective, getting ground ball after ground ball off the bats of the Dons.
However, the wheels fell off in the bottom of the fourth with two outs on the board. After the Green Wave turned their second double play of the game, Gibbs (1-1) allowed a single to USF's Zack Turner, who came home on an RBI-double to the left center wall by Derek Atkinson during the next at-bat. A passed ball moved Atkinson to third, and Gibbs then walked Brendan Hendricks with first base open. Ryan Matranga then hit a grounder just past a diving Hunter Hope at third base that rolled into the expansive corner in right-foul territory to score two more, giving USF a 3-0 lead.
In the next inning, USF scored after Harrison Bruce and Nico Giarratano singled to lead off the frame. Michael Eaton attempted to bunt, but Gibbs fumbled it and then threw it away attempting to make a play at first, allowing Bruce to score and moving Giarratano to third. Gibbs was removed from the game in favor of redshirt sophomore Alex Massey, whose first pitch got away from Rogers to allow Giarratanto to score from third on the second passed ball of the game. Atkinson then doubled in Eaton to double the Dons' run total from the previous inning.
The inning wasn't over, though, as Matranga hit a dribbler back to Massey, who overthrew junior first baseman Bowen Woodson at first base to score two more runs, giving USF an 8-0 lead. Matt Sinatro doubled to put two runners in scoring position before Massey was able to get out of the frame without any more damage.
"I thought Emerson had good enough stuff early, but then they put some good at-bats together, and we just didn't handle the ball," stated Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I have to give credit to San Francisco, but this is 100 percent on me. As a head coach, to have my team come out today with a chance to have a good game and play that poorly rests on me."
While San Francisco managed to swing the bats well, Tulane could only muster two hits on the day. Sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon led off the game with a single, and then stole second base. But no base runner made it further on the afternoon, as Goodman (1-1) had his best day of his young career, fanning seven and allowing just two hits in 8.0 innings of work.
"We had too many bad at-bats, and played poor defensively," stated Jones.
Senior lefty reliever Brady Wilson came to the mound in the bottom of the sixth for his second appearance of the season. Eaton walked before the pitching change, and he came home to score on a double down the left field line by Turner for USF's final run of the game.
Freshman second baseman Jake Willsey notched Tulane's second hit of the game in the top of the eighth for his first collegiate base knock.
"Jake Willsey stepped up, and he was one of our positives on the day," added Jones. "We felt that Brady came in and gave us a lift, too."
Freshman reliever Matt Horton made his first appearance in the bottom of the eighth, and got out of a bases loaded jam on a line drive double play.
Jordan Haseltine came on in the ninth inning for the Dons to finish off the contest.
Gibbs pitched 4.0 innings, allowing nine hits and six runs (four earned) while walking one and striking out one. Massey struck out four over 1.1 innings, while allowing three runs (one earned).
In addition to Carthon, who reached base on a hit and a hit by pitch, and Willsey, Deschamp and freshman designated hitter Barry Buchowski - who made his first career start today - were both plunked by Goodman for Tulane's only base runners on the afternoon.
San Francisco won all three contests at the Cal Baseball Classic over the weekend, allowing only one run in three games. The Dons defeated Arkansas on Friday, 2-1, before shutting out Cal, 1-0, on Saturday.
Tulane fell to Arkansas on Saturday afternoon, 4-0. Tulane was last shutout in consecutive games since March 19 and 22 in 5-0 and 8-0 losses to New Orleans and Houston, respectively.
"At the end of the day, that responsibility falls on me, and all I can say is that I'm going to work as hard as I can to rectify this because today was an embarrassing day for our program," mentioned Jones.
The Green Wave have a big game coming up on Tuesday, as they will host nationally-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30pm CT at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Following the midweek contest, Tulane will hit the road again, as they will travel to Greenville, N.C. for a three-game Conference USA series against East Carolina.
On Monday, Tulane head coach Rick Jones will return to Desi Vega's Steakhouse at 628 St. Charles Avenue for his weekly coach's show at noon. The show will be broadcast live on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.