April 9, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - When the dust settled just beyond the third base bag, Brian Barry was helped to his feet by his teammates who had piled on just moments before to celebrate a 6-5 walk-off victory for the Tulane baseball team against Rice at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The Green Wave allowed single runs in five different innings, but scored two runs in each of the final three frames to claim the series opening win over the Owls.
"I thought early we might have been a little tentative, but I think when Garrett and (Rob) hit those two home runs everybody realized we are back in this thing and we have a chance to win this ballgame," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones.
Rice took an early lead against Tulane starting pitcher Conrad Flynn when Anthony Rendon led off the second inning with a walk. After stealing second, Rendon advanced to third on a ground ball out and scored on a Rick Hague double into the left field corner.
Single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings ended the outing for Flynn and pushed the Owls out to a 4-0 advantage. Flynn was relieved after allowing an RBI double to Diego Seastrunk with one out in the seventh, before Alex Byo entered and struck out the final two batters of the inning - after issuing an intentional walk to start his outing.
Flynn tossed 6.1 innings in his eighth start of the season and allowed four runs on nine hits. The junior walked two - one intentionally - and struck out four in the no decision.
Rob Segedin and Garrett Cannizaro each went deep in the seventh inning to end the night for Rice starting pitcher Taylor Wall. Segedin smacked his fifth home run of the season down the right field line to get the scoring started with one out in the frame. After a groundout, Cannizaro took the 3-1 offering from Wall and sent it over the protective netting in left field to cut the Rice lead to 4-2.
With the Olive and Blue trailing 5-2, Barry walked to lead off the eighth inning and moved to third on a Nick Boullosa double to right center field. The freshman scampered home on a Brandon Boudreaux groundout and Boullosa later scored on a passed ball to pull the Green Wave within a run at 5-4 heading to the ninth.
Byo was relieved by Nick Pepitone to start the ninth after allowing one run on two hits and striking out three.
Pepitone came on in the ninth and threw a scoreless frame, allowing a walk and a single, and the Green Wave brought the heart of the order to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against Rice closer Tyler Duffy.
After Segedin was retired to start the inning, Jeremy Schaffer singled and Cannizaro walked to put two runners on base. Brennan Middleton hit a fly ball to right-center field and the Rice outfielders bumped into each other and the ball dropped to load the bases. Barry - who was making his fourth start of the season - stepped in and with a 1-2 count sliced a ball down the right field line. The ball landed just out of the reach of RU right fielder Chad Mozingo, scoring pinch runner Adam Zabel from third and Cannizaro slid across the plate for the game winning run.
Barry, who was credited with a double and two RBI's, was mobbed at third base as the Green Wave collected their fourth walk-off win of the season. It was the first game winning hit for Barry, his first career multi-RBI contest and gave Tulane their fifth straight series opening victory in a row.
"(Barry) had good at bats all night," said Jones about the final at-bat in the ninth. "He drew two walks but he got a breaking ball, down and out and rifled it up the right side. Just a quality at bat from that guy."
Barry was on base three times in the game, scoring once, while Segedin added a pair of singles to his home run in the series opener. Cannizaro was the only other TU player to reach base twice in the contest, scoring twice, with Boudreaux, Boullosa and Schaffer accounted for the other three hits for Tulane.
The Olive and Blue improve to 21-10 overall and are now 5-2 in Conference USA play after the series opening victory. Tulane and Rice (17-14, 4-3 CUSA) will return to the turf at Turchin for a 2:00 first pitch on Saturday, April 10 for the second game of their three-game set. Tickets are available online at www.tulanegreenwave.com or by calling the Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.