March 23, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After last night's contest in which they notched ten hits off one of the nation's best pitchers in a winning effort, Tulane struggled at the plate and on the mound on Saturday against Memphis, dropping the middle game of the series, 16-0, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Memphis (13-9, 1-1) hit five doubles and three home runs, including two from right fielder Colton Simbeck - the first of his career - throughout the day's contest that featured four Tulane (13-12, 1-1) pitchers. All in all, Memphis tallied 17 hits on the afternoon, and Tulane's defense committed four errors to allow more runs on the board.
"It was an extremely disappointing day," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones, who returned to the dugout after missing yesterday's contest due to an illness. "We've had a few of them, but today Memphis dominated us in every phase of the game. When you give up seventeen hits, sixteen runs, and you get four hits and you make four errors, you're going to get beat badly most days."
Senior Alex Byo got the start on the mound for the Greenies, and he got through the first inning relatively easily, allowing only one hit. In the second inning, Byo (2-3) allowed a one-out bunt to Austin Hatfield down the third base line, and then Simbeck blasted a home run that hit the top of Turchin Stadium's scoreboard for the first two runs of the game.
In the third inning, Memphis' Jake Little hit a ground-rule double to dead center on the first pitch he saw, and he went to third base on a wild pitch by Byo. Designated hitter Bryce Beeler brought him home on a sacrifice fly to left field, adding to Memphis' lead. Tucker Tubbs reached on an error - the first of two from the left side of the infield in the inning for Tulane - and he advanced to second on a single by Carter White. Drew Griffin - the only Tiger in the starting lineup who did not collect a hit on the day - reached first on the second error of the inning that loaded the bases for Hatfield. He grounded out to senior shortstop Brennan Middleton, but that allowed Tubbs to come home for the fourth run of the game. With two men on, Simbeck stepped to the plate for the second time on the day and connected on a shot that hit the left field foul pole for a three-run homer.
For all of the hits Memphis collected early on, Tulane struggled at the plate, as they only collected one hit through the first three innings, as Middleton reached base in the first on a bunt.
In the top of the fourth, Tulane made a slew of defensive adjustments in the field, but Memphis' bats were still on fire. With one out, Little homered to left center and Beeler reached on the third error on the afternoon. He stole second base, and then scored when Tubbs doubled. White hit a double of his own to bring home Tubbs, and Tulane replaced Byo on the mound with redshirt sophomore Randy LeBlanc.
On the day, Byo pitched 3.1 innings, allowing nine hits and 10 runs - of which only five were earned.
"I don't have any answers right now," said Byo. "I'm anxious to look at the film and see what was going on. I felt better than I felt last week out there, which raises even more questions as to what happened. The only thing I can think of is that everything was up, it wasn't moving. Just didn't have my best stuff today."
Memphis added a run in the fifth inning and then was held to only one hit over the sixth and seventh innings by redshirt junior Greg Miller. They opened their offense back up again in the eighth inning, all with two outs already on the board. Griffin reached on an error and Hatfield reached on a single. Junior Kyle McKenzie replaced Miller on the hit, and Simbeck immediately singled through the right side to load the bags. Ethan Gross singled through the right side for his lone hit on the day to score Griffin, and then McKenzie plunked Zach Willis to bring home Hatfield. Ford Wilson, who pinch hit for Little, laced a three-RBI double to score their third, fourth and fifth runs of the frame before Tulane got Beeler to groundout to third.
Conference USA rules call for the game to end after the bottom of the inning of any game played on Saturday in which there is a 15 run lead. After Tulane was retired in the eighth, the game was called.
Memphis' starting pitcher Erik Schoenrock went the distance for the Tigers, allowing only four hits and striking out five. Schoenrock (3-1) is the son of Memphis baseball head coach Daron Schoenrock.
The rubber match of the series will pit lefty senior David Napoli against lefty Alex Gunn. Napoli is making his second consecutive Sunday start of the season after beating Texas-San Antonio last week.
Sunday's game will be broadcast only to All-Access members on TulaneGreenWave.com. Fans can follow live stats on TulaneGreenWave.com.
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.