March 19, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After scoring three runs in the first inning - including two off a home run by senior Sean Potkay - Tulane baseball surrendered five runs in the next frame, ultimately losing to New Orleans, 5-4, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Potkay hit his second home run of the season after senior Blake Crohan - who reached on a double to left field - scored on a ground-rule double by fellow senior Brandon Boudreaux, giving Tulane (12-11) a 3-0 lead after one inning. However, UNO (4-18) battled back, scoring all five of their runs on the day in the top of the second off freshman starter Emerson Gibbs. Throughout the game, UNO made some outstanding stops defensively to keep runs off the board, while Blake Prest and Stone Speer pitched eight solid innings out of the bullpen for UNO for their first win and save, respectively, on the season.
"UNO outplayed us," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "They made about four or five diving catches. They made pitches when they had to. They came out really swinging the bats well and put that five spot in the second inning. We didn't stop the bleeding there; we didn't turn the double play and that extended the inning for them. This is a very tough loss for us. They really played well out there today. You have to give them credit. But this one hurts us."
Gibbs (0-1) only needed eight pitches to retire the side in the top of the first. In the top of the second, UNO's Andre Damiens hit a routine grounder to shortstop that took a funny bounce on the Greer Field turf, hitting senior Brennan Middleton in the upper part of his body. On the very next pitch, Zachary Hawkins launched a double to left field that scored Damiens from first. Hawkins moved to third on a groundout by Brian Dixon, coming home on the next at-bat - an RBI-single by Morgan Barger. Jonathan Coco singled to center field, and Zach Pohto followed that up with a single of his own that scored Barger to tie the game. Gibbs went 1.1 innings before being pulled in favor of junior Brady Wilson. Chaz Boyer singled - the fourth straight single allowed - to load the bases. Zach Liberto reached on a fielder's choice that scored Coco for the go-ahead run, and UNO added one more when Reese Kanter singled to score Pohto.
All-in-all, the Privateers put up five runs on seven hits in the second inning.
Prest (1-4) came on in relief of UNO starter Stephen Potter, who was making his first start of the season. Prest retired the first five batters he faced before walking Potkay, who was left stranded. In the fourth, freshman Richard Carthon reached scoring position when he reached base on an error and stole second base for his third swipe of the year. Freshman Tim Yandel was hit by a pitch - one of three Greenies to be plunked on the day - and both base runners advanced on a balk by Prest. However, junior Briggs Barrios and Middleton both grounded out to end the inning.
The Greenies chipped away at the Privateers' lead in the fifth after Potkay reached on a double that was nearly grabbed in right field by UNO's Barger. Stone Speer - who started against Tulane during the first contest between the two teams earlier this year - came on in relief of Prest before Potkay came to the plate, and he allowed an RBI-single to senior Garrett Cannizaro that cut UNO's lead to one run.
However, that score remained the same throughout the remainder of the contest. Tulane stranded six runners through the last three innings, and Boudreaux was in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the ninth. A strikeout and two straight groundouts left him 180 feet from tying the scoring run.
Wilson pitched well in his team-leading 10th appearance on the mound, going 4.2 innings, striking out three and walking only one. Freshman Ian Gibaut pitched the final three frames, striking out three and allowing only one hit.
Potkay went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs, two runs and a walk. He was the only Greenie with a multi-hit game, as Crohan, Boudreaux, Cannizaro, Carthon and junior Bowen Woodson all collected one hit each.
"I felt good at the plate, but obviously my last two at-bats (a groundout and strikeout) I probably needed to do something better," said Potkay. "There were a couple of fastballs in them. I would've traded my first three at-bats if I could've gotten a hit at the end of the game."
Tulane will host Memphis over the weekend for both teams first Conference USA matches of the 2013 season. Last year, Tulane took two of three from Memphis on the road.
Fans can tune into Tulane's flagship station, 106.1 The Ticket, to listen to the live broadcasts for Friday and Sunday's contests. Saturday's game will be made available to All-Access members only on TulaneGreenWave.com. All weekend, fans can follow live stats on TulaneGreenWave.com.
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