March 18, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane baseball did not start off their lone five-game week of the season the way they wanted to, as the Southeastern Louisiana Lions stole a contest from the Green Wave, 6-3, thanks in part to four two-out runs on Tuesday evening at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane (10-9) never led in the contest against Southeastern (12-8), as the Lions plated three runs in the top of the third to chase starting pitcher Corey Merrill for the Green Wave.
However, Tulane could have made it a game at the conclusion of the top of the eighth. With one out on the board and Tulane (10-9) trailing 3-2, sophomore righty Emerson Gibbs - who struck out a career-best six in the outing - hit a bump in the road in an otherwise solid relief outing. Unfortunately, Gibbs then issued three-straight walks - one intentional - to load the bags. With two outs, Gibbs was replaced on the mound by senior Andrew Garner, who got the start in right field on the day. Garner issued a two-run single to right field off the bat of Daniel Midyett, and Jacob Seward tacked on another RBI-single to give Southeastern a three-run lead.
While Tulane never took a lead, they knocked on the door in the bottom of the sixth with two runs to cut Southeastern's lead to one.
Freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais singled up the middle to lead off the frame and subsequently stole second base. Sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon singled Alemais home during the next at-bat to give Tulane their first score of the contest. Freshman second baseman singled off the glove of Southeastern pitcher Sean Kennel to reach safely. Garner hit into a fielder's choice that put Carthon out at third, but Willsey ended up there shortly after a passed ball. With runners on the corners, junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp hit a slow dribbler back to the pitcher that allowed Willsey to score and move Garner into scoring position. Freshman third baseman and Green Wave slugger Hunter Hope stepped to the dish and ripped one towards left field that was unfortunately snagged by Lions' third baseman Brett Hoffman to end Tulane's threat of tying the game.
"Obviously (this is) another very disappointing loss to Southeastern," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "They played with so much energy, but so did we. The difference is eight walks, seven unintentional, and the two-out RBIs that they had in the third and then the eighth. I thought we played well defensively. Emerson Gibbs pitched really well for us. I thought we fought like crazy, but the difference was seven walks."
The free passes did end up coming into play, as five of the eight walks issued all scored runs, including the intentional walk. Southeastern did not walk any Green Wave batters on the evening. Tulane actually recorded more hits than the Lions, eight to six. The loss was the first for Tulane this season when outhitting their opponent.
Merrill (0-1) came out early and pitched well through the first two innings, giving up just one hit. But Southeastern got things rolling in the third off the Lutcher product as he walked the first two batters before both moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Kyle Cedotal walked to load the bases before Jacob Williams singled into center field to plate the first run of the game. While Merrill was fortunate enough to get a 1-2-3 double play ball off the bat of Fisher, Southeastern's Aaron Godbold struck with two outs, singling to right field to score Williams and Cedotal.
Tulane nearly made another comeback in the bottom of the eighth, down 6-2. Reliever Mason Klotz started the inning on the mound for the Lions, and Alemais got things going again with a leadoff single. Alemais wound up on second base due to a passed ball and moved to third on a difficult play by the Lions' infield, who tried to throw Carthon out at first on a slow roller to the back of the infield turf. Carthon then moved to second on a wild pitch, while Alemais came home for Tulane's third score. With two outs, Garner came to the dish and slapped a blooper into centerfield. However, Seward got a good beat on it and made a diving basket catch to end the inning.
With one last chance to get things going in the bottom of the ninth, Hope doubled to left field for the game's lone extra-base hit for either team. However, with one out, sophomore Tim Yandel - like Hope three innings before - hit a laser that was caught by a perfectly placed Kennon Menard at shortstop, who then doubled Hope up at second to end the game.
Alemais, Hope and Carthon all posted two hits apiece for the Green Wave. Alemais tied a career-high with two runs on the evening, as well.
Kennel (2-2) was credited with the win, having gone 7.0 innings while striking out six and allowing one earned run. Gibbs allowed one hit over 5.0 innings, while walking five (one intentional), also a career-high. Merrill lasted just 2.2 innings in his third start of the season, allowing three hits and three runs while issuing three walks and fanning one.
On Wednesday, the Green Wave will head across town to play rival New Orleans in a game for the First NBC Bank Cup. Tulane won three of the four contests against the Privateers in 2013, all at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Wednesday's first pitch will be at 6:30pm CT at Maestri Field. Fans can tune into 88.3 FM WRBH for the live broadcast, or they can follow live stats on TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.