April 9, 2011
ORLANDO, Fla. - It was another one-run game for the Tulane baseball team on Saturday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field and the Green Wave came out on the right side of a 6-5 ballgame to win their series at UCF. Tulane never trailed in the contest and the offense did just enough to grab their tenth one-run victory of the season over the Knights.
"That was another grind it out (game)," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We had a lot of guys in situations that they have not been in this year. That is the furthest that Drew Zizinia has ever gone in a game, Andrew Garner came on in a late inning relief role and David Napoli coming in and getting his first save. It's nice when you beat a club that is so good offensively with a lot of guys filling different roles. We had some really good at bats. Brennan Middleton hit a big home run. Schaffer hit another home run today. We had some good at bats.
Tulane (20-11, 3-5 C-USA) got out to a 3-0 lead in the contest as they scored two runs in the third inning and added a run in the fifth. The initial runs came with two outs in the third as Matt Ryan was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to third on a Blake Crohan single to right field. Nick Schneeberger plated the first run of the game with a single through the right side of the infield and Bowen Woodson followed with a single of his own to right field to make it 2-0.
A pair of solo home runs against Tulane starter Drew Zizinia cut the Green Wave lead to 3-2 heading into the seventh inning. Derek Luciano hit his third home run of the year in the fifth inning and Jonathan Griffin added another solo shot in the sixth, his sixth home run of the year and second of the weekend.
Brennan Middleton got in on the home run party in the seventh when he ended the outing for Lively with his first longball of the season. Middleton led off the seventh inning by going deep and gone to push Tulane's lead to 4-2.
Zizinia worked into some trouble in the seventh and Andrew Garner came on in relief with no outs and two runners on base. Eric Hempe singled to start the inning and Luciano walked to end the outing for Zizinia. Garner entered and walked Travis Shreve to load the bases and a fielders choice ground out from Darnell Sweeney scored the first run and Ronnie Richardson singled to tie the ballgame at 4-4. On the Richardson single, Woodson threw a bullet from right field to cut down Sweeney at third base and Garner struck out D.J. Hicks to end the inning.
In his fourth start of the season, Zizinia threw six innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with just one walk and five strikeouts in the no decision.
"I knew going into the game I needed to go deep (into the contest)," said Zizinia. "Last time out I got ahead of myself, thinking `I have to go seven or eight (innings)'. Today I just kept my bullpen mentality just kept going one inning at a time. I threw some strikes early and got some quick outs and that really helped."
In the eighth, Crohan walked and Schneeberger singled to start the frame, with the duo moving up a base each on a sacrifice bunt from Woodson. Quinn Pippin grounded out to second base for the second out of the inning, but the run scored from third to push Tulane back into the lead at 5-4.
Middleton singled to start the ninth, moved to second on a Nick Boullosa sacrifice bunt. The sophomore advanced to third on a ground out by Ryan and after the Knights issued the intentional walk to Schaffer, Hicks came on to pitch for UCF. The right-hander uncorked a wild pitch and Middleton crossed home plate to make it a 6-4 advantage in favor of the Green Wave.
That run would prove to be valuable in the bottom of the inning as the Knights pushed Garner and David Napoli to the edge on the mound. Shreve singled to start the inning and Richardson was hit by a pitch with one out. Hicks then redeemed himself with a double to right field to score the runner from second and pull UCF within one. Garner left the contest and Napoli entered to face Chris Taladay. Taladay hit a ball to Pippin at third base and the throw home was in time to cut down the runner at home and, after an intentional walk to Grifin, Beau Taylor popped out to left field to end the game.
Garner (1-0) got the win in the 6-5 Green Wave victory, tossing two and one-thirds innings in relief of Zizinia to earn his first career victory. The rookie allowed one run on six hits and struck out three batters. Napoli picked up his first career save with two-thirds of an inning of work and just the intentional walk on his ledger.
Offensively, Middleton and Schneeberger each poste two hits in the game, while Middleton scored a pair of runs. Crohan was one-for-one in the game and drew four walks, scoring twice, while Schaffer had a hit and walked twice on Saturday. The Green Wave was out-hit 13-7 in the contest, but improved to 10-2 in one-run games this year by collecting the timely hit.
Tulane will look to sweep the Conference USA series in the finale of their three-game set at UCF on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Central time.