April 12, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Despite an outstanding performance by redshirt senior Tyler Mapes, who pitched his first complete game as a member of the Tulane baseball program, the Green Wave couldn't get past a pesky Rice squad, as Tulane fell by one run for the second consecutive day, 2-1, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mapes struck out seven batters while walking just one, and he allowed just six hits across nine frames, but the Tulane (14-19, 6-10) infield committed an error that led to Rice (25-12, 12-5) taking the lead in the top of the eighth inning.
With one runner on second base with one out in the top of the eight in a 1-1 tie game, Mapes (4-2) delivered a pitch that got past freshman catcher Jake Rogers that allowed Rice's John Williamson to move from second to third. Mapes was able to strikeout Rice's Charlie Warren, who fouled off a bunt attempt with two strikes, for the second out. Unfortunately, Shane Hoelscher hit a chopper back at Mapes during the next at-bat that deflected off his glove towards freshman Stephen Alemais at shortstop. While Alemais was able to get the ball in his glove cleanly, the rookie from the Bronx dropped the ball, allowing Hoelscher to reach safely while Williamson scooted across home plate as the go-ahead run, which ended up as the difference in the contest.
"Steph will make that play 100 out of 100 times," said Tulane baseball interim head coach. He may just have taken his eye off of it, I'm not really sure. But I would bet my life on it that he would never not make that play. That's the way the game goes sometimes, there's never one person that's responsible for a loss; it's a team effort. If we have better at-bats and do more things offensively then that play probably doesn't mean much. It was in a tough spot and like I said, he'll make that play every time every day. It's unfortunate that it happened at that time."
Alemais, who turned 19 on the day, was pretty solid otherwise, making a ton of plays in the field while going 1-for-3 at the dish with a sacrifice bunt.
Rice's Blake Fox pitched opposite Mapes on the afternoon, and the two kept the game scoreless through the first three innings, despite both pitchers allowing a handful of hits apiece. In the top of the fourth, Rice struck first, as Skyler Ewing doubled to left field with one out before Connor Teykl brought him home on a single.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tulane tied things up as junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp doubled to left field before moving to third on a fly out off the bat of senior outfielder Andrew Garner. Deschamp came home when freshman third baseman Hunter Hope singled to right field. Hope picked up his second career stolen base during the next at-bat, but was left stranded as Fox (8-0) was able to strikeout the next two batters.
After Rice took the lead in the top of the eighth, Tulane had a final chance in the bottom of the ninth to take things to extra innings. Fox was able to strike out the first batter before giving up a single to Deschamp, who was Tulane's lone multi-game hitter on the day with a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Freshman Grant Brown pinch-ran for Deschamp, and Rice brought in Matt Ditman for the second-consecutive day. Ditman was able to strand Brown at first, as he retired the final two batters on a fly out and a ground out to earn his sixth save of the season.
Fox pitched 8.1 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out eight batters and walking one. Mapes' complete game is the lone 9.0-inning complete game on the season for the Green Wave so far. Redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc earned a 7.0-inning complete game in the rain-shortened loss to Marshall back on March 30.
"We knew Mapes was going to give us that effort," added Gautreau. "He gives us that effort every time he goes out there. I want the young guys to watch him and watch the way he goes about his business because you can learn a lot from him. He's very talented, and he goes out there and gives you his best effort every game. He was really good. It's sad for the program that we didn't win that ball game because it was a winnable ball game, but it's sad for Tyler Mapes because I thought he did a great job and put us in a great situation to win that game."
Tulane and Rice will play the series finale on Sunday at 1pm CT at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The game will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH. Live stats will be made available through the GameTracker link on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page.
Sunday is Kids' Day at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. There will be inflatables for youngster to play in during the game, and they will be able to stand next to their favorite players on the field during the National Anthem while also having the opportunity to run around the bases post game. It will also be Mascot Day on Saturday, with the mascots from the New Orleans Voodoo, New Orleans Pelicans, New Orleans Zephyrs and Loyola Wolfpack in attendance.
Fans can also donate a bag of Mardi Gras beads to receive a voucher for a future Green Wave baseball game during the contest on Sunday.
Single game tickets for the 2014 Tulane baseball season can be purchased through the Tulane ticket office by either calling 504-861-WAVE (9283), or visiting the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.