April 5, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - It was just what you expected from two in-state rivals as the Tulane baseball team dropped a tightly contests, back-and-forth contest to #17 LSU on Tuesday evening inside Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. LSU took the early lead, before the Green Wave grabbed a 5-4 edge in the fifth, but the Tigers scored once in the seventh and twice in the eighth to claim a 7-5 decision in front of a sellout and stadium record crowd of 5,131 fans.
"We had some pretty good at-bats, but we walked six guys in the first three innings," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "You can't do that. We had an error and six walks in the first three innings. That put us behind. We did a good job of fighting back and getting back in (the game) and then taking the lead. But they did a good job of executing the safety squeeze. Obviously, you know where we are in our bullpen, and it got worse tonight."
LSU (21-8) scored a run in the first and added two more in the third inning versus Tulane (18-11) starting pitcher David Napoli. Austin Nola drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly, while Mason Katz doubled to open the scoring in the third and Alex Edward followed with an RBI triple to left center to stake the Tigers to a 3-0 lead.
Some good base running led to a pair of Green Wave runs in the bottom of the third inning to pull the game within one. With one out, Matt Ryan and Garrett Cannizaro singled to put two runners on base and Nick Boullosa followed with a bloop single down the left field line and Ryan read the ball off the bat and scored from second. After Brandon Boudreaux walked to load the bases, Jeremy Schaffer chopped a ball to the second baseman and Boudreaux avoided the tag long enough to allow Schaffer to reach safely and Cannizaro to score from third.
After Tulane took a 5-4 lead on a Blake Crohan ground out in the fifth, LSU tied the game with a run in the seventh inning versus Andrew Garner and took the lead with two more in the eighth against Alex Facundus. Facundus (5-1) threw the final two and two-thirds innings and allowed the two runs on three hits, while issuing three walks and fanning three Tiger batters.
On the mound, Napoli threw two and two thirds innings and allowed three runs on three hits, walking five and striking out two. Nick Pepitone tossed one and a third innings, allowing an unearned run on one hits, and Andrew Garner threw two and a third innings with one run allowed. Pepitone, who left after allowing the unearned run in the fourth, left with discomfort in his throwing arm and will have an MRI on his arm tomorrow.
"(We have to) keep playing as hard as we can," Jones said to close his session with the local media. "I've never dealt with anything like this. I don't think many coaches have. This is (five) of our top six (pitchers injured). It was our strength. We were winning close, low-scoring games, and we were 17-4 doing it because we had really, really good starting pitching, really good middle relief, a set-up guy, and a nationally-prominent closer... We've lost four of our top five starters for this weekend, and a nationally-prominent closer... We're going to do everything we can to (win ballgames), but we don't have that kind of depth (in our bullpen)."
Boullosa and Ryan led the way with two hits apiece, as Ryan collected his 11th career multi-RBI game in the process. The two hits for Boullosa extended his hitting streak to five games and seven of the nine starters posted hits in the contest. Woodson and Crohan each pushed their hitting streaks to three games and Brandon Boudreaux has now hit in four straight.
Tulane will hit the road for a three-game series against UCF starting on Friday, April 8 at 5:30 Central time. The series in Orlando, Fla. will continue on Saturday at 3:00 and conclude on Sunday with an 11:00 a.m. first pitch.