March 12, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - After back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2002, Tulane's baseball team came out swinging the bats well against the No. 6 team in the nation, Louisiana-Lafayette, but in the end, it was not enough, as the Ragin' Cajuns defeated the Green Wave, 7-4, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Tulane (9-6) collected ten hits in the contest after notching only six during the last two games, and the rallied from an early deficit with four runs in the bottom of the third. However, ULL (14-2) managed to tie things and then take the lead during the next frame on some untimely errors by the Green Wave infield.
With Tulane leading 4-3 going into the top of the fourth, Tulane freshman reliever Zach Flowers took the mound in place of freshman starter Corey Merrill. The Ragin' Cajuns Ryan Leonard reached on an error and moved to third on a stolen base and a fly out. Dylan Butler then singled and then moved to second on a throw across the diamond that attempted to throw out Leonard, but the ball was thrown away, allowing Leonards to trot home for the tying run. After Butler moved to third on a groundout, he came home on a double by Blake Trahan for the go-ahead run. Trahan then scored on a double by Seth Harrison.
Flowers (0-1) was credited with the loss, but all three runs scored on him in the fourth inning were unearned. He struck out one on the evening.
"I think we played well," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I know we had two errors in that one inning there. But, I thought that ULL is as billed. They are an outstanding team. They took advantage of everything they had to take advantage of."
Three Tulane freshmen posted multi-hit contests for the Green Wave, as catcher Jake Rogers, third baseman Hunter Hope and second baseman Jake Willsey - who made his first collegiate start - all posted two hits.
ULL jumped out to an early lead, as Tyler Girouard knocked in two on a double in the top of the first after Merrill gave up a single and hit a batter. In the third inning, ULL's Caleb Adams hit his first home run of the season over the left field wall.
However, the Green Wave battled back to take the lead during the bottom of the third. With lefty starter Cody Boutte out of the contest, Tulane scored three runs on two hits and a walk off ULL's Martin Anderson. Sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon led things off with a walk and Willsey moved him to second base on a single into center field. Senior outfielder Andrew Garner brought Carthon home on a single. Another southpaw in Ryan Wilson entered the game for ULL, but Tulane continued their hot inning, as junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp singled to center to score Willsey. With two men on base, Hope blasted a double down the left field line to clear the bags, giving Tulane their first lead in a game since overtaking Cal on Friday during the fifth inning.
After the runs, though, ULL retired 15 Tulane hitters in a row, using Wilson (1-0) and Ben Carter on the mound.
In the bottom of the eight, Tulane made things interesting, as Matt Hicks came to the bump for the Ragin' Cajuns. With two outs, Hope singled up the middle, and Rogers doubled to center field to put two runners in scoring position with the tying run at the dish. However, senior centerfielder Bowen Woodson struck out swinging.
With three outs left to play, Tulane strung together some offense as Carthon singled through the left side with two outs. Willsey then reached on an error. Unfortunately, Carthon was tagged out on a groundball to third base during the next at-bat, giving ULL their first win over the Green Wave since 2009.
"Jake (Willsey) was really good tonight," added Jones. "He landed on three balls and two hits. I was very encouraged with him tonight."
Tulane used seven pitchers in the contest: Merrill, Flowers, freshman Tyler Zamjah, redshirt sophomore Alex Massey, senior Brady Wilson, sophomore Tim Yandel and Garner, who came on to pitch the last 0.2 innings of the top of the ninth.
ULL's Wilson was credited with the win, pitching a total of 3.0 innings, while fanning three. Reagan Bazar was credited with his third save of the season, as he allowed just one hit in the last inning to preserve the Ragin' Cajuns victory.
Tulane will return to action on Friday as they will travel to Greenville, N.C. over the weekend for a three-game series against Conference USA foe East Carolina. Friday's contest will be played at 5:30pm CT, while Saturday's game will begin at 1pm CT. The series finale will begin at noon on Sunday.
All three contests will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for 2014, 88.3 FM WRBH. Live stats can be followed on GameTracker at TulaneGreenWave.com.
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