April 7, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A pitcher's duel at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Miss., ensued on Sunday afternoon between Tulane's David Napoli and Southern Miss' Conor Fisk, with the Golden Eagles coming out on top, 2-0, despite a stellar performance from Napoli.
Napoli (3-2) pitched 8.0 solid innings to put Tulane (16-18, 4-5) in a position to win the contest, but Fisk silenced the Green Wave bats by only allowing two hits on the afternoon. The win gave Southern Miss (13-17, 5-4) the weekend series after defeating Tulane on Saturday afternoon.
"David certainly pitched well enough to win," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "He had one inning in the bottom of the third where he walked the leadoff guy and hit the next batter. They bunted up and did a good job of that, and they lined a single to score two. We probably hit eight or ten balls hard today with nothing to show for it. We played well defensively, and we got a real good pitching performance. But the bottom line is, the baseball gods are really testing us right now."
On the day, Napoli notched his first career complete game, striking out three and only allowing three hits in the losing effort. His complete game loss is the second on the season for the Green Wave, as fellow senior Alex Byo pitched his first career complete game in a losing effort to High Point on March 9.
To open the game, Napoli allowed a single in the first inning to Southern Miss' Travis Creel, but junior Bowen Woodson was able to put him out at second when he made a gorgeous diving snag on a fielder's choice by Mason Robbins up the middle with the next at bat. On his belly, Woodson flipped the ball to Middleton for the force out, and Napoli was able to get Isaac Rodriguez to fly out to end the frame.
The Golden Eagles Fisk (3-1) allowed a single to senior Sean Potkay in the top of the second inning with one out, and with two outs, Fisk walked senior Garrett Cannizaro. However, a diving catch on a line drive from Woodson to right field made by Robbins left both runners stranded.
Napoli retired the Golden Eagles in order in the bottom of the second, and Fisk returned the favor to the Green Wave hitters in the top of the third.
However the bottom of the third was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect day from Napoli. The New Orleans native walked Andrew Furr to lead off the bottom of the frame and then hit Chase Fowler on the back during the next at bat, bringing up the top of the order with no outs. Connor Barron advanced both runners on a sacrifice bunt, and Creel brought both home on a two-run double to the right center wall to give Southern Miss a 2-0 lead before Tulane was able to get out of the frame.
Napoli didn't allow another hit until the bottom of the fifth when Furr singled to left center, reaching base for the second straight plate appearance. Fowler attempted to move him over on a sacrifice bunt, but Potkay fielded the bunt and threw to second to get the force out on Furr. Barron then grounded into a double play, ending the inning and wasting the leadoff hit.
Freshman Hunter Lapeyre, who got his first career start at designated hitter, knocked his second base hit of the season through the left side to lead off the top of the sixth. Fisk then walked Carthon on four straight pitches, moving Lapeyre into scoring position. After striking out Middleton, Fisk got Carthon to groundout on the right side, moving both runners into scoring position. However, neither were able to advance any further, as Fisk got senior Brandon Boudreaux to pop up to third base for the third out.
Creel walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth but Napoli got Robbins to fly out to left field, and catcher Blake Crohan was able to throw Creel out at second on a steal attempt for two quick outs. Napoli walked Rodriguez, and stole second on a delayed steal to put himself into scoring position, but Blake Brown popped up foul to Crohan behind the plate.
In the top of the seventh, Potkay hit a line drive right back to Fisk on the mound that hit the pitcher, but Rodriguez was able to throw Potkay out at first. After striking out junior Andrew Garner, Southern Miss third baseman Bradley Roney - who hit a home run in Saturday's contest - made a back handed stab of a screaming grounder down the third base line hit by Cannizaro. Roney was able to pop up and throw Cannizaro out at first.
Napoli made quick work of Southern Miss in the bottom of the seventh, striking two batters, but Fisk equaled his performance, retiring Tulane in order in the top of the eighth. Napoli followed suit in the bottom of the eighth, giving Tulane their last chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Fisk struck out Middleton to start the top of the ninth before walking Crohan. However, Fisk was able to retire both Boudreaux and Potkay on fly balls to center field to end the game.
Fisk notched his first complete game of the year, walking four and striking out three.
On Tuesday, Tulane will travel to Lafayette, La., to face Louisiana-Lafayette for a 6pm CT tilt that will be broadcast on 88.3 WRBH.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.