April 13, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - For the second time in as many days, the Tulane and East Carolina baseball squads played extra innings before determining a winner, but unlike Friday's contest, the Saturday game went in favor of the Green Wave in the bottom of the 12th when senior Garrett Cannizaro brought home senior Brandon Boudreaux on a single to win the game, 5-4 at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
After playing a 13 inning tilt on Friday night, ECU (16-19, 2-6) scored two runs in the top of the seventh off Tulane (18-19, 5-6) starter Alex Byo to tie things up at four runs each. However, in the bottom of the 12th, Boudreaux walked to lead off the inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Tucker Oakley. Boudreaux moved to third on a passed ball dealt by ECU's Brett Mabry, and eventually scored the game-winning run when Cannizaro laced a single into left center field.
"It seems like we always play them (ECU) with really low scoring games," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I thought that we played really defensively and that Alex Byo gave us a great start. Daniel Rankin got a big out for us, and I thought that Kyle McKenzie was as good as he's been for us in long time, he committed to the strike zone, he threw three fourths of his pitches for strikes, which was a big key there, and this was a much needed win."
The Pirates committed three errors and allowed ten hits, including two apiece to seniors Oakley, Cannizaro and Brennan Middleton as well as junior Nick DiMaggio, who made his first career start for the Greenies.
"He's been here three years without really any positive reinforcement that you're going to get in if you do this and that," added Jones about DiMaggio. "His work ethic has never been anything but at the highest level because that's just the type of person that he is."
Byo allowed runs in both the first and second inning on three hits, but was otherwise solid through his 6.2 innings of work. Tulane's offense backed him up today by scoring runs in the first, third and fourth. A scary moment occurred in the top of the second when ECU's Travis Watkins hit a line drive off the leg of Byo. Fortunately, Byo was able to make the out and remain in the game.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Middleton laced a triple - just the third for Tulane this season - before he scored on a wild pitch by ECU starter David Lucroy. In the third, the Greenies tied the game at two runs each when freshman Richard Carthon reached on an error and advanced to second base. DiMaggio doubled to left field to score Carthon, giving DiMaggio his first RBI and his first career extra base hit.
After Byo allowed the two runs in the seventh, freshman Daniel Rankin came on in relief to get the final out of the inning, stranding runners at first and second. On the day, Byo allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out three.
Redshirt junior Kyle McKenzie came on in relief of Rankin in the top of the eighth after Rankin walked Garrett Brooks and allowed a single to Watkins that moved Brooks to third. McKenzie (2-1) was able to strike out Bryan Bass to strand the go-ahead run 90 feet from home.
Brett Mabry, who relieved starter Lucroy to start the seventh inning, pitched well through the beginning parts of extra innings. He got some help from his defense in the bottom of the 11th when Ben Fultz crashed into the left field wall while making a catch on a ball lifted by Carthon. However, McKenzie was equally as strong, and didn't need stellar defensive plays in the later innings as he retired the last six batters he faced with ease.
Mabry (1-2) started shaky in the bottom of the 12th, and it cost the Pirates the game when Cannizaro brought Boudreaux home on his second hit of the game. Mabry pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and a walk to earn his second loss of the season.
"Extra innings game are tough, and especially when you have two in a row it's huge to bounce back and get a win today when we played 12 innings," said Cannizaro. "We didn't panic, we did the little things that we've been working on, we got a bunt down, we were able to advance runners, and we just played baseball after that."
McKenzie earned his first win since the opening weekend of the season, going 5.1 innings, and allowing only four hits while striking out two.
The back-to-back extra-inning games were the first for the Green Wave since April 25 and 26 of 2009 when the Greenies played Memphis.
The third game of the series will be played during its originally scheduled time of 11am CT on Sunday morning at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Senior lefty David Napoli will square off against right handed Ryan Williams of ECU. The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRMH, and live stats will be available at TulaneGreenWave.com.
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