March 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - In front of a crowd of 4,725 fans on a very cold evening at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday evening, two historic baseball programs in Tulane and LSU squared off in what eventually became a 14-1 win that favored the Tigers from Baton Rouge.
LSU (23-2) scored early and often, including five runs in the first inning against Tulane (14-13) starter Brady Wilson. The Tigers scored nine of their 14 runs through the first four innings.
"They're a really talented club," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones of LSU. "They're a veteran club. They're one of the top two or three clubs in the country and we were out of the ball game before we ever really got it going."
Making his second start of the season, Wilson (1-2) had to face one of the top batting lineups in the nation, and they managed to bat around in the top of the first. Wilson was able to get leadoff man Sean McMullen to fly out to right field, but then walked Mark Laird and allowed back-to-back singles to Alex Bregman and Raph Rhymes. With the bases loaded, Mason Katz notched a two-RBI double that moved Rhymes to third. Christian Ibarra brought Rhymes home on a sacrifice fly, and then JaCoby Jones reached on an error that scored Katz. With the score already at 4-0, eight-hole hitter Andrew Stevenson single dup the middle to score the final run of the frame.
"I left a bunch of balls up in the zone and they're a great hitting team and made me pay for it," said Wilson, who was pulled in the second after allowing another run with one out. Freshman Daniel Rankin took the mound after Wilson left, and with Bregman at second base, Rankin threw a wild pitch that allowed the Tiger to advance to third. After getting Rhymes to ground out, Katz singled to left field to bring Bregman home, allowing LSU to take a 7-0 lead after two innings.
Tulane scored their lone run in the second inning when LSU pitcher Russell Reynolds plunked senior Sean Potkay on the first pitch. Potkay advanced to second on a passed ball and made it to third on a single by junior Andrew Garner. Freshman Richard Carthon brought Potkay home on a fielder's choice, making the score 7-1.
LSU added one run in both the third and the fourth innings. McMullen brought Stevenson home on a sacrifice fly in the third, and Katz hit an RBI-single through the left side off Tulane's Randy LeBlanc, who relieved Rankin at the start of the fourth.
In the eighth inning, LSU notched five more runs to take the 14-1 lead. Prior to the contest, Jones and LSU head coach Paul Mainieri agreed to end the game after the seventh if either squad was up by ten runs.
"The thing that really impressed me so much about LSU--obviously Reynolds threw really well for them--but the thing that really impressed me about them was their approach at the plate," said Jones. "Every time we left a ball up in the zone--and we left a lot of balls up in the zone--they didn't miss their chance."
Tulane used six pitchers during the contest. Along with Wilson, Rankin and LeBlanc, redshirt juniors Greg Miller and Kyle McKenzie, as well as freshman Emerson Gibbs, made appearances on the mound for the Greenies. LeBlanc pitched the longest on the evening, going 3.0 innings and giving up four hits. Miller pitched one inning, walking three and striking out two.
"The reason why we had to go with so many pitchers in short stints is because we have five guys down," added Jones. "We've got a big-time weekend series at Rice and we play Thursday, Friday and Saturday so that's less time for those guys to rest. So tonight, for us, we wanted to win that ball game but we just couldn't invest as much into it as we wanted to."
Tulane notched only five hits against LSU's pitching, with two coming from both Middleton and Garner. The only other hit on the evening was collected by redshirt junior Nick DiMaggio, who pinch hit for Middleton in the eighth. The hit was the first of the Metairie, La., native's career.
The Greenies will head to Houston tomorrow for a three-game series against Rice on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All three games will be broadcast live on Tulane baseball's flagship station 106.1 The Ticket. Live stats will be made available through TulaneGreenWave.com.
You can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.