April 6, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - David Napoli and D.J. Ponder combined to hold the Rice offense to just two runs on Friday night inside Greer Field at Turchin Stadium and Nick Schneeberger led the offensive charge with three RBIs in the Tulane baseball team's 7-2 victory over the Owls on Friday (April 6) evening. The Owls out-hit the Green Wave 13-9, but Tulane was able to even their second straight Conference USA series with a win in the second game.
"We played a really complete game tonight," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We got solid pitching from David (Napoli) and D.J. (Ponder) pitched really well in relief. We played well defensively, too. (Rice) has so many big arms, so they are going to be stingy with you, even when you get runners on base. I thought our approach, especially late, was really good. We didn't chase (pitches) out of the zone and we stayed on a couple of balls and stretched the lead."
The scoring was opened in the bottom of the first inning when Nick Schneeberger took a full count offering from Owls starting pitcher Andrew Benak over the wall in left field for his fourth home run of the season. It was the jump start that the Green Wave offense needed, as they would never trail in the game.
Jeremy Schaffer led off the second inning with a single and Frank Florio followed with a walk to start the second inning for the Green Wave. After Briggs Barrios moved the runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt and Brennan Middleton doubled off the third base bag to make it 3-0 in favor of Tulane (21-9, 3-2 C-USA) after two innings.
A run in the sixth extended Tulane's lead to 4-1, when Troy McCartney doubled off of the bag at third and Schneeberger plated his second RBI of the evening with a base hit to right field.
The Owls would cut the lead back to two runs in the sixth inning, chasing Napoli, who started for the Green Wave, with four hits in five at-bats in the frame. Napoli allowed a single, followed by a double play, but three straight base hits scored the second Rice run and put runners on the corners with two outs. Ponder entered and got out of the inning with a fly ball out to right field.
Napoli ended the outing allowing two runs - one earned - on nine hits in five and two-thirds innings of work. He managed to pick up his second conference victory of the season as he struck out three and walked one.
In the eighth inning, Tulane sent eight batters to the plate and scored three more runs to stretch their lead to five runs. Barrios started things with a walk before two out were record by John Simms, the fourth Rice pitcher of the game. Simms intentionally walked Brandon Boudreaux and followed with a walk to Garrett Cannizaro to load the bases. Schneeberger then collected the third straight free pass, driving in his third run of the contest, and Sean Potkay added two runs batted in with a single to center field.
Ponder stranded runners on the corners in the ninth inning to post his fourth save of the season and preserve the 21st win of the year for the Olive and Blue. The senior threw three and one-thirds innings scoreless, walking one and fanning one, while allowing four hits.
On the night, Schneeberger collected his 17th multi-hit game and eighth multi-RBI game of the season to go along with two walks, a runs scored and nine putouts in the outfield. Sean Potkay has hit in five straight, going one-for-five at the plate, and Middleton moved his reached base streak to nine games with a hit and two RBIs on the night. Schaffer collected two hits in the game, giving him 67 multi-hit efforts in his career and seven of the nine TU starters collected hits in the game.
The series will wrap up on Saturday, April 7 with a 1:00 contest on the Turf at Turchin.
- Rice leads the all-time series 24-7.
- All nine Tulane starters reached base on the night, with seven of them posting hits.
- Garrett Cannizaro walked to extend his reached base streak to 13 games, but saw his hitting streak end at 12 games.
- Sean Potkay had a pair of hits to extend his on-base streak to nine games.
- Nick Schneeberger posted his third three-RBI game of the season and is tied for the team lead with eight multi-RBI games.
- Schneeberger also posted his team-best 17th multi-hit effort in the second game of the series versus Rice.
- David Napoli improved to 2-0 in Conference USA play on the mound with the win on Friday.
- D.J. Ponder collected his fourth save of the season and fifth of his career, moving him into 16th on the career saves chart.
- Tulane's bullpen lowered its ERA to 2.03 with three and one-thirds scoreless innings on Friday versus Rice.