April 14, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Ugly weather in New Orleans dissipated prior to the first pitch between Tulane and East Carolina for game three of the series at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, but the wind still managed to get in the way of things, allowing ECU to win the contest, 4-2, on Sunday afternoon.
In the top of the second inning with the score tied at zero, a routine infield pop fly off the bat of ECU's (17-19, 3-6) Nick Thompson drifted further into the outfield due to the swirling winds before falling to the ground despite tremendous efforts from Tulane (18-20, 5-7) freshman Richard Carthon, junior Nick DiMaggio and senior Brennan Middleton. After senior starter David Napoli retired ECU's Nick Cannon on a grounder, Nick Thompson hit what would appear to be an easy catch for Carthon in left field. However, the ball kept travelling, eventually settling right over the wall near the foul pole for a home run.
After Tulane tied things up in the sixth, freshman Ian Gibaut relieved Napoli on the mound in the top of the ninth, and the wind reared its ugly head again, as Gibaut (1-2) gave up the second home run of the game to left center off the bat of ECU's Luke Lowery before allowing a single to Bryan Bass. After a stolen base by Bass and a wild pitch by Gibaut, Jack Reinheimer singled to right field to bring Bass home, giving ECU a 4-2 lead.
Other than the second-inning blemish, Napoli pitched solidly for the Greenies. The New Orleans native went 8.0 innings, allowing only four hits, and he tied his career-high in strikeouts with eight.
"David Napoli pitched really, really well," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "Wind-blown pop-up and wind-blown home run, that's all he gave up today when the wind was blowing out there probably 25-30 miles per hour."
In the bottom of the second, the Green Wave loaded the bases after a walk was issued by ECU starter Ryan Williams to Tulane senior Sean Potkay before singles from both senior Garrett Cannizaro and junior Bowen Woodson. However, with two outs, freshman catcher Cameron Burns hit into a fielder's choice that put Woodson out at second, leaving all three base runners stranded.
In the bottom of the fifth, Woodson made it all the way to third base after getting hit by a pitch and reaching the third bag off a single by Burns to right center. While Burns advanced to second on a groundout by Carthon during the first out of the inning, Williams was able to record two straight outs to leave both runners in scoring position on the bags to end the frame.
With the score set at 2-0 in favor of ECU heading into the bottom of the sixth, Tulane's offense woke up, notching four hits and two runs to tie the contest. Senior Brandon Boudreaux got things started by doubling to right field before advancing to third on a groundout by Potkay. For the second straight day, Cannizaro brought Boudreaux home on a single to left field, cutting the ECU lead in half. Senior Tucker Oakley notched his third hit of the weekend on a single to left field that moved Cannizaro all the way to third base. Woodson, who was 2-for-3 on the day, brought Cannizaro home on a single through the left side to tie the contest. Oakley and Woodson, though, would remain on the bases as the inning ended.
Napoli allowed only one hit in the seventh and one walk in the eighth before being able to get out of both innings. Today marked his second straight 8.0 inning performance, as he pitched a complete game in 8.0 innings last Sunday at Southern Miss.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cannizaro doubled to left field with one out, putting himself in scoring position as the go-ahead run. Designated hitter Drew Reynolds came on to pitch for the second time in the series, and he walked both Oakley and Woodson to load the bases. Unfortunately, Burns struck out looking on a full count for the second out of the inning before Carthon grounded out to first base to leave the bases full of Greenies for the second time on the afternoon.
"The conditions play the same for both teams," added Jones on the offensive struggles of the Green Wave. "You have got to give East Carolina credit, especially in the ninth. One guy got into a ball there off of Ian."
Cannizaro finished the game 3-for-4, capping off a week in which he collected three RBIs - including the game-winning one on Saturday afternoon. Woodson was the only other multi-hit Greenie on the day, as he went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Boudreaux, Burns and Oakley all added hits, with Boudreaux's going for two bases.
On Tuesday, the Green Wave will play Louisiana-Monroe at noon in Monroe, La. The game will be broadcast on 106.1 The Ticket.
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