Redshirt senior Tyler Mapes tied a career-high in strikeouts with eight in a career-high 8.0 innings
March 28, 2014
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Despite leading through a majority of the game, Tulane dropped the first game of the series to Marshall, 3-2, on a two-out, two-run walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth at Appalachian Power Park on Friday night in Charleston, W. Va.
Tulane (13-12, 5-5) held a 2-1 lead from the fifth inning on, but sophomore reliever Dan Rankin entered the game in the bottom of the ninth after a stellar start by redshirt senior Tyler Mapes. Rankin (0-1) immediately benefited by a stellar defense play by freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais on a slow roller to short stop, one of a few noteworthy plays made by the rookie on the day. However, Rankin allowed a single to Marshall's (7-16, 4-6) Andrew Dundon with one out to before dealing a four-pitch walk to Chase Vogelbach to put the go-ahead run on the basepaths.
Marshall pinch-hitter Aaron Bossi hit a chopper to Alemais at shortstop, but the wet dirt caused by the rain that fell through most of the game made Alemais slip, loading the bases. Freshman righty J.P. France came to the mound and struck out Marshall's Matt Reed for the second out on three-straight breaking balls. But a hard hit single by Eric Escobedo right up the middle scored Dundon and Vogelbach to give Marshall the victory.
Mapes gave the Green Wave another outstanding outing on the mound, pitching a career-high 8.0 innings and tying a career-high with eight strikeouts. Mapes did not allow a single walk and he gave up just five hits and one run.
"Tyler pitched his tail off and deserved to win this ball game," said Tulane associate head coach Chad Sutter. "He went out there and was aggressive and pounded the zone. He did everything we asked him to do. When you pitch 8.0 innings and give up just one run, that's a game you feel like you should win."
The Green Wave struggled a bit at the dish, stranding 17 runners for the first time since a game at Southeastern Louisiana on March 27, 2012. Many of those runners were on base after getting walked, as the Marshall pitching staff served up nine free bases to the Tulane batters, a season high for Tulane. Even with the runners left on, Tulane led the contest from the top of the third until the final at bat of the game.
In the top of the third, sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon and Alemais secured back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Freshman Hunter Hope hit a sharp grounder right back to the pitcher, but Marshall's Michael Taylor, who got the start on the day, tried to catch Carthon napping at third. Instead, a lengthy rundown ensued, and with Carthon making a break for home after jumping back and forth, a throw to home by the Thundering Herd's third baseman hit Carthon in the back, allowing him to reach home for Tulane's first run of the game, while putting Alemais at third and Hope at second. Senior outfielder Andrew Garner then knocked Alemais in on a sacrifice fly to give Tulane an early 2-0 lead.
Mapes was on fire through the first portion of the game. The Plano, Texas, native did not give up his first hit of the tilt until allowing a single into center field to Sergio Leon, who came home to score on a double down the left field line by Vogelbach to cut Tulane's lead to just one.
The Green Wave had golden opportunities in the top of the fifth and the sixth to add to their lead, but Marshall managed to get out of both predicaments. Taylor was able to get the Green Wave to leave the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, despite two runners reaching scoring position with no outs. In the top of the sixth, Taylor walked Alemais before junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp singled up the middle before Taylor was pulled in favor of Clint Wilson. Hope walked to load the bags for the second consecutive inning for the Green Wave. But for the second consecutive inning, the bases were left loaded after Wilson struck out Garner to end the threat.
Fortunately for the Green Wave, Mapes continued to look sharp. Mapes allowed a one-out single to Leon in the bottom of the sixth after retiring them in order in the fifth, but Leon was left stranded after Mapes got two flyouts, including one in foul territory, to keep Marshall from scoring. Mapes allowed a single in the bottom of the seventh to Marshall's T.J. Diffenderfer, but retired the next six batters in order before leaving the mound for the final time in the bottom of the eighth.
The run scored by Marshall in the bottom of the fourth was the first run allowed by Mapes since the righty gave up two runs in the bottom of the fourth when the Green Wave faced Cal on March 7 in Berkeley, Calif. Mapes pitched 7.0 innings of shutout ball against ECU on March 14. Following that contest, Mapes fanned eight and allowed no runs in 7.0 innings against Middle Tennessee last Friday.
The Green Wave got multi-hit games from Deschamp and Hope, who went 2-for-3 and 2-for-4, respectively. Junior John Gandolfo, who played his freshman year for the Thundering Herd two seasons ago, got the start in centerfield on the day. It was Gandolfo's seventh start on the year.
Taylor walked six batters in 5.2 innings in the no decision. Marshall reliever Sam Hunter was credited with the win, after pitching 0.1 innings with one strikeout. Hunter (1-0) picked up his first win on the season.
The game got underway 45 minutes after the original scheduled first pitch because of an extra-inning contest against Big 12 opponents West Virginia and Baylor that was played at Appalachian Power Park prior to Tulane's contest.
Tulane and Marshall will return to action on Saturday morning at 9am CT. The game time has changed twice since the Green Wave arrived in Charleston, as the two programs have been working to get the tilt in around severe weather issues that could potentially threaten the area. The game will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
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