Freshman Richard Carthon had three outfield assists on Tuesday
April 2, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Despite scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth and having the tying run at the plate, the Tulane baseball squad dropped their tilt against Nicholls State by a score of 5-3 at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday night.
Nicholls State (15-15) lead throughout the game, and Tulane had only scored one run heading into the bottom of the ninth before freshman Richard Carthon reached base when he was hit by a pitch from Colonels' closer Jordan McCoy. Tulane (15-16) senior Brennan Middleton hit a shot to left field with one out that was in and out of the glove of Nicholls' leftfielder Keith Cormier that put Carthon at third and Middleton at second. Senior Brandon Boudreaux - who went 2-for-5 on the day with three RBIs - singled up the middle to bring the two Greenie base runners home to cut the lead to 5-3. With two outs and representing the tying run at the plate, senior Garrett Cannizaro hooked a shot down the left field line that went foul before striking out to end the contest.
"We didn't hit a whole lot of balls hard and we didn't bunch hits," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "We had seven hits and we didn't bunch them until late. I thought we had good at-bats late. But I just refuse to believe that we are not a better ball club than this."
Nicholls State (15-15) used a new pitcher every frame from the third inning to the ninth after starter Grant Borne pitched the first two. Borne (2-0) struck out three and walked two, but allowed no runs.
Tulane (15-16) starter Daniel Rankin pitched 4.1 innings, and allowed a run in the first and fifth innings. Rankin (1-1) allowed seven hits, including four in the first two frames combined, but settled down after that to pitch his longest outing of his career.
After getting the Colonels' leadoff hitter, Matt Richard, to fly out to senior Sean Potkay in foul territory, Rankin allowed Leo Vargas to hit his first home run of the season over the left field wall at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. However, Rankin was able to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
In the second inning, Nicholls State nearly scored again, but an outstanding play from Carthon - which seems to be a regular occurrence as of late - got Tulane out of the inning unscathed. The Colonels' Seth Stevens opened the frame with a single up the middle, and he moved to second base on a wild pitch by Rankin. After plunking Cody Dufrene to put runners at first and second, Rankin was able to strike out Mike Barba before the Colonels' Richard came back up to the plate. Richard laced a shot to left field, and Stevens attempted to score from second base. Carthon scooped up the ball and was able to gun Stevens out at the plate for the second out of the inning before Rankin got Vargas to groundout to end the inning. The play marked Carthon's first outfield assist of the season, but added two more later in the contest.
The Greenies couldn't manage to bring home their base runners early in the game. Carthon reached second base in the first inning, but was stranded after three straight outs. In the third, he once again reached base with no outs after getting hit by a pitch, and stealing second base shortly thereafter. When senior Blake Crohan grounded out to second base, Carthon advanced to third, but remained there when Kelby Langston - Nicholls State's second pitcher of the contest - was able to get out of the frame. In the fourth inning, the Greenies collected consecutive base hits from junior Andrew Garner and Potkay, but neither crossed home plate after two consecutive full-count outs kept Nicholls State ahead in the game.
After the Colonels notched another run in the fifth off an RBI double, Tulane finally got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth when Carthon led off with a single on a bunt. He advanced to second on a balk by Zach Thiac, and eventually made his way to third base on a groundout. When Boudreaux doubled for his first hit of the game, Carthon came home to cut the Nicholls' lead in half.
In the seventh inning, Tulane sophomore Randy LeBlanc hit Vargas with a pitch before getting a fly out to left field. However, Brandon Jackson singled to right field on a hit-and-run, putting runners at the corners. Garner relinquished his designated hitter role to step to the mound for the Greenies, and he allowed a two-RBI triple to Cormier. With the next at-bat, Duplantis pulled off a suicide squeeze that scored Cormier to extend the Colonels' lead to four runs.
Tulane made a valiant effort in the ninth before falling just short. As a team, the Greenies collected eight hits, including two from both Boudreaux and Garner, as well as one a piece from Carthon, Middleton, Potkay and Yandel.
Borne pitched 2.0 innings, striking out three and walking two. He was credited with the win due to his short start being predetermined. Rankin was credited with his first collegiate loss, despite pitching well through 4.1 innings.
Tulane dropped their Feb. 26 game to Nicholls State earlier this season when the Greenies travelled to Thibodaux, La., for the first time since 2007. Losing tonight's contest marks the first time Tulane has dropped two games in a season to Nicholls State since 1990.
Tulane will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a three-game series against Conference USA rival Southern Miss on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will mark the second weekend in a row the Green Wave have played on the road against a C-USA foe.
"You have to put it behind you and know we have a big weekend coming up at Southern Miss," said Cannizaro. "It's a huge rivalry between us"
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