Baseball Scores Two Early Runs and Holds Off UTSA, 2-1, Behind Byo's Solid Peformance

TULANEGREENWAVE.COM Senior Alex Byo struck out five over the course of seven innings, earning his second win of the season against UTSA on Saturday.
Senior Alex Byo struck out five over the course of seven innings, earning his second win of the season against UTSA on Saturday.

March 16, 2013

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NEW ORLEANS - Tulane senior Alex Byo pitched seven innings, striking out five Texas-San Antonio batters and allowing only one run, in the Green Wave's 2-1 victory over UTSA at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

One week after pitching his first career complete game in a losing cause, the Baton Rouge, La., native got some early run support from his teammates, as they put the only two runs they needed for the day on the board in the second inning.

"We need to get runs anywhere along the line in the course of the ball game," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "We've done this before and do exactly what we did today, get into a lull. We had some good at bats. Blake Crohan and Brandon Boudreaux hit a lot harder balls than they had to show for it. At the same time, it's about runs. You can get outhit and still win. I was excited about our approach early. About half of our club I thought had the same approach throughout the game and we've got to be mentally tougher than that. I thought we got away from it and it showed."

Of the six hits Byo (2-2) allowed on the afternoon, two of them came in the second inning. UTSA's (13-6)Tony Ramirez notched a one-out single in the top of the frame, and John Bormann followed that up when he reached on a bunt down the left field line. Byo then walked John Welborn to load the bases, but he was able to strike out Rodney Garza for the second out before getting Jesse Baker to groundout to senior Sean Potkay to end the threat.

In the bottom of the inning, Tulane (11-10) put together four hits to score two runs, which was all they needed on the day. Potkay got things started by doubling to center field, and he advanced to third when fellow senior Garrett Cannizaro singled. Junior Andrew Garner added to his RBI total - bringing his number up to 16 on the season - on a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Potkay from third and advanced Cannizaro to second. Junior Briggs Barrios got in on the action, singling up the middle to bring Cannizaro home for the second run of the inning. Freshman Richard Carthon singled to left center, but both runners were left stranded.

After those two runs were scored, Byo cruised until the seventh inning - allowing only three base runners on a walk and two hits. From the fifth inning to two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Byo retired eight straight batters. However, in the bottom of the seventh, he allowed a single to Garza up the middle, and he advanced to second base when Baker reached on an error. Riley Good brought Garza home on a single to right field, and Baker made it all the way to third. Fortunately, Boudreaux was able to make a diving catch in center field on a shot by Horacio Correa III for the final out of the inning, leaving the tying run 90 feet away from home plate.

Tulane collected two more hits during the game - a single by Carthon in the seventh and a single by junior Bowen Woodson in the eighth - but neither made it past first, as Carthon was caught stealing second, and Woodson was put out on a fielder's choice.

After Byo's afternoon was finished, Tulane sent freshman Ian Gibaut to the mound. The reigning Louisiana Sports Writers Association Pitcher of the Week immediately allowed a single to RJ Perucki, bringing their cleanup hitter Mike Warren to the dish. He hit a screamer to third base that was scooped up and tossed to second in an attempt to make a double play. While Woodson was able to tag the bag at second, Perucki made contact with him during his slide. However, Warren was ruled out due to the interference caused by Perucki. Gibaut then struck out Ramirez swinging to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gibaut returned to the mound, striking out Bormann on a full count before Welborn popped up in foul territory to Potkay. Gibaut then recorded his third strikeout of the game when he sat Garza down to end the contest. Gibaut earned his third save on the season for his performance.

"Fortunately we had a great pitching performance from Alex Byo, and then Ian Gibaut was great in relief or we'd be suffering another (loss)," added Jones.

UTSA's pitcher Brock Hartson went the distance on the mound, throwing eight innings, and allowing eight hits. His record fell to 2-2 on the season, and during the game he didn't record a strikeout, marking the first time on the season that Tulane batters did not strikeout during a contest.

The Greenies had not had a game in which the batters did not record a strikeout at the plate since a 7-6 victory over New Orleans on March 20, 2011.

For the first time in a weekend series on the season, Tulane will send out left-handed senior David Napoli to start on the mound during tomorrow's series finale against UTSA. In 10.2 innings on the season, Napoli is 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 11 strikeouts. He has made only one other start on the year, pitching one inning against New Orleans on Feb. 27 before leaving the game with a minor injury. UTSA will also send a southpaw to the mound in freshman Nolan Trabanino. He has posted a record of 3-1 on the season in 24.0 innings of pitching. He holds an ERA of 2.25, and he has recorded 20 strikeouts to only two walks.

Fans can tune into Tulane's flagship station, 106.1 The Ticket, to listen to the live broadcast. Live stats will be made available on TulaneGreenWave.com.

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