April 8, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. - A ninth inning, three-run home run from junior Jeremy Schaffer capped of a back-and-forth ballgame for the Tulane baseball team on Friday night. The Green Wave rallied from an 8-4 deficit in the seventh and Schaffer's home run in the ninth made it 10-8 and Alex Facundus slammed the door with three innings of relief of Conrad Flynn to claim his sixth win of the season.
"That was something that hasn't been the norm for us, as far as getting down, coming back and getting down again, especially against a good offensive club in their ballpark where they don't lose a lot," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We put together some good at bats to get back in (the game) and Schaffer just put a great swing on a hanging breaking ball. He did what he was supposed to do (with a pitch like that). Conrad Flynn settling in and getting through those innings after he struggled in the fourth was big and Alex Facundus did a wonderful job to come in and stop the bleeding against a good offensive club in their ball park."
UCF took an early 1-0 lead when Beau Taylor hit a sacrifice fly after Jonathan Griffin doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. The Green Wave responded with two runs of their own in the fourth, as Matt Ryan and Blake Crohan each singled and Nick Schneeberger delivered a two-RBI double of the right fielders head to push the visitors ahead, 2-1.
Tulane pulled within one run in the seventh when Bowen Woodson and Garrett Cannizaro each delivered RBI base hits. UCF, however, put three runs on the board in their half of the inning when D.J. Hicks drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Taylor delivered a two-RBI single to extend the Knights lead to 8-4.
The momentum would turn in the eighth when the first three batters of the inning reached versus UCF reliever Joe Rogers. After Rodgers got a pair of strikeouts, Quinn Pippin was hit by a pitch and Cannizaro singled through the right side of the infield to score two more and trim the UCF lead to 8-7.
After Facundus tossed a perfect eighth inning, Nick Boullosa singled against Rogers and Richardson entered the game from center field to pitch. Ryan walked to put two runners on base with one out against the right-hander and Schaffer followed by hitting a breaking ball deep to left field to push Tulane ahead, 10-8.
The game was in the balance in the ninth when Ryan Breen singled with one out and Griffin added a two-out blooper to bring the game winning run to the plate against Facundus. The rookie showed some moxie by coaxing a ground ball to second base from Taylor to seal the victory.
Head coach Rick Jones didn't get to see the final outs of the contest, as he was ejected from the game in the seventh inning, but the come-from-behind win gave him his 1,000th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
Flynn gave Tulane a solid effort on the mound, despite allowing seven runs, as he kept the Green Wave in the game and gave the depleted pitching staff six innings of work. He struck out two and walked a pair in the no decision. Facundus allowed one run on three hits in three innings of relief work and struck out two batters to improve to 6-1 on the season.
Boullosa extended his hitting streak to six games with his ninth inning single and Woodson pushed his hitting streak to four games in the contest. Cannizaro Schaffer tied for the game-high with three RBI's and added a pair of hits. Cannizaro, Crohan, Ryan, Schaffer and Schneeberger each posted two hits in the game. All of Tulane's walks came after the seventh inning, with two of them coming around to score, while the pitching staff didn't walk a batter - other than an intentional pass - after the fourth inning.
The series with UCF will continue on Saturday at 3:00 Central time and conclude on Sunday with an 11:00 a.m. first pitch.