April 1, 2014
LAFAYETTE, La. - Tulane baseball fell to No. 2 Louisiana-Lafayette 16-0 on Tuesday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, La., as the Ragin' Cajuns collected 22 hits, including two doubles, three triples and two home runs.
Tulane (13-14) played the Ragin' Cajuns of ULL (27-3) relatively close during the first meeting between the two programs in early March at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, but some defensive miscues allowed the Ragin' Cajuns to squeak by, 7-4. That was not the case on Tuesday, as the ULL offense exploded while the pitching staff held the Green Wave bats to just three hits during the contest.
"We played a special team tonight, and we knew that coming in," said Tulane assistant coach Jake Gautreau. "We wanted to be able to come out and play a good ballgame and go home with a win. Obviously, that was not the case tonight, as we were in a bit of a funk on the mound and at the plate."
Louisiana-Lafayette put runs on the board in seven of the eight innings, while Tulane only mustered three hits across the game. Freshman second baseman Jake Willsey went 2-for-2 at the dish and sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon led the game off with a single. Unfortunately, all three hits were wiped out by double plays.
Louisiana-Lafayette scored twice in the bottom of the first despite some solid defensive plays by the Green Wave infield. Tulane starter Corey Merrill allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan Leonards and Seth Harrison to lead off the frame. Leonards came home and scored on a groundout by Tyler Girouard after Tulane freshman second baseman Jake Willsey made an outstanding sliding play to keep the grounder from finding its way to the outfield. On a sharp grounder by Caleb Adams during the next at-bat, Tulane freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais made a diving snag of the ball to make a throw to first that was not in time. Leonards never stopped running from second base on the play, and he slid in under the tag after a quick throw from Tulane junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp.
The Ragin' Cajuns tacked on another run in the bottom of the second after Dylan Butler, who led off the frame on a triple, came home on an RBI-single by Blake Trahan.
After another triple to lead off the bottom of the third - this one by Leonards - Tulane went to the bullpen, replacing Merrill (0-2) with freshman righty Zach Flowers. Freshman catcher Jake Rogers threw out Girouard who was attempting to steal second after getting plunked by Flowers, but Leonards trotted home on the play for ULL's fourth run.
ULL's Jace Conrad singled and scored in the bottom of the fourth, and in the fifth, Girouard homered off Flowers to right field. After Adams tripled and Conrad walked to put runners on the corners with two outs, Tulane sophomore righty Emerson Gibbs relieved Flowers. Dylan Butler slapped a single up the middle to bring Adams home before Gibbs was able to stop the bleeding at 7-0.
Gibbs allowed a three-run home run to pinch hitter Eric Powell after giving up back-to-back singles to put Tulane down 10-0 through the first six innings. Senior southpaw Brady Wilson came on in relief of Gibbs, and three more runs came home to score with the Central, La., native on the mound. Freshman reliever Matt Horton came on to retire the final out of the six-run inning.
Horton was able to retire the side in the seventh inning, keeping the Ragin' Cajuns from scoring a run in a frame for the first time on the evening. In the contest, Horton pitched 1.0 inning while not giving up any hits - the lone Green Wave pitcher to accomplish the feat on the evening.
Senior Andrew Garner, who started the game as a designated hitter, gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth, one of which came home on the game's lone error.
Merrill was charged with the loss, as he pitched 2.0 innings while giving up six hits and four runs, all earned. He also fanned two batters. Flowers had the longest appearance on the mound on the night for Tulane, going 2.2 innings while allowing five hits and three runs, all earned, while striking out two and walking one.
ULL starter Matt Hicks picked up the win in a predetermined 3.0 inning start, allowing two hits and striking out one. Hicks (4-0) was one of six Ragin' Cajuns pitchers to take the mound on Tuesday.
Sophomore utility man Matt Braud made his season-debut in the bottom of the ninth as he took his first career at-bat with two outs while facing ULL's Reagan Bazar.
The last time the Tulane pitching staff allowed three triples in one contest was in a 4-3 10-inning win against Wright State on March 1, 2009.
Additionally, no team has collected 22 hits against the Green Wave since Charlotte notched 25 in an 18-10 defeat of the Green Wave on March 16, 2002.
The Green Wave will return to the friendly confines of Greer Field at Turchin Stadium over the weekend for a three-game series against new Conference USA opponent UTSA. Friday's game will begin at 6:30pm CT, and Saturday's game will begin at 2pm CT. The series finale will begin at noon CT on Sunday.
All three games will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
"We have to keep working and grinding," added Gautreau. "Tomorrow is a big day of practice for us. We have to get this thing back on track and have a good weekend."
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