April 15, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - With the score knotted at two in the bottom of the tenth and the bases loaded for the Tulane baseball squad, Green Wave freshman third baseman Hunter Hope launched a walk-off single into left field to score freshman pinch runner Grant Brown, giving Tulane a 3-2 victory over McNeese State at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday evening while also snapping Tulane's five-game losing streak.
Tied at two from the seventh inning on after Tulane (15-20) put up two in the bottom of that frame, the Green Wave loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth after McNeese's (20-15) Lucas Quary - who started the game at designated hitter - allowed a single to freshman catcher Jake Rogers before walking both senior outfielder Andrew Garner and junior outfielder John Gandolfo. Brown pinch ran for Rogers after he reached second base on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp, and just a few moments later, he scampered across home plate, scoring just his third, but arguably his biggest, run of the season.
"(This was a) real big win tonight," said Tulane baseball interim head coach Jake Gautreau, who earned his first victory as head skipper of the program. "We'll take it any way we can get it. It's been a little rough here lately. I thought we played some good baseball this past weekend and didn't get a win. But tonight we were trying to put an emphasis on playing just a clean baseball game: pitch well, hit well, play good defense. And we did. We played a nice baseball and we won the baseball game because of it."
Tulane got three outstanding pitching performances from sophomore starter Emerson Gibbs, senior lefty Brady Wilson and Garner, who picked up his first win on the year in relief. The Green Wave also benefited from some errant pitching by the Cowboys staff in the bottom of the seventh.
Leading 2-0 after the seventh-inning stretch, McNeese went to relief pitcher Collin Caber after starter Michael Desabrais - who had pitched a gem to that point - allowed three consecutive singles to Garner, senior designated hitter Nick DiMaggio and Hope. Desabrais injured his ankle on Hope's sacrifice bunt attempt that went down in the books as a hit, but was able to walk off the field under his own accord.
Reliever Tyler Erickson recorded a big strikeout for the Cowboys for the first out of the inning, but Caber came in after that one out and plunked freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais to score Garner from third. Freshman second baseman Jake Willsey hit into a fielder's choice that put DiMaggio out at home, but sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon was then hit by a pitch delivered by Caber that scored Hope to tie the game.
McNeese took the initial lead in the top of the fifth after Gibbs had thrown 4.0 solid innings in just his third start of the season. The Cowboys' Chayse Marion singled to lead off the frame before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Reed Gordy brought him in on a double to left field. Quary (1-2) - who was the losing pitcher in the contest - doubled Gordy in during the next at-bat to give the Cowboys their two-run lead to start things off. Things could have been worse, too, as Sam Peterson singled to center with two outs and Quary on second base. However, a solid throw by freshman centerfielder Lex Kaplan was able to gun Quary down on the plate, keeping McNeese's lead to just two runs.
"I thought Lex came and got that ball really well and made a great throw," added Gautreau. "That's a huge run there when you look at the end of the ball game. We kind of fed off that and it picked us up."
Wilson, who made his seventh appearance on the year after replacing Gibbs to start the sixth inning, fanned three batters while allowing just one hit in 3.0 innings of work. Garner (1-0) came on and closed things out during the last two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out one.
Gibbs pitched 5.0 innings, allowing five hits and two runs. Desabrais went 6.0 innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs. Neither starting pitcher recorded a strikeout.
Hope had one of his better days at the dish, going 3-for-5 with one run and the game-winning RBI. DiMaggio was right behind him with a 2-for-3 performance. Carthon, Rogers, Garner, Kaplan and Willsey all added base knocks of their own, giving Tulane 10 hits for the second-consecutive game. The Green Wave have only recorded consecutive 10-hit contests on one other occasion this season: when the team hit 12 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Feb. 16, followed by collecting 13 and 19 against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 22 and 23.
Early Wednesday morning, the team will travel to North Carolina for the second time this season as they will face Conference USA opponent Charlotte in a three-game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The first game of the series will begin at 5pm CT on Thursday, with game two coming the following day at 2pm CT. The series-finale will be held at 11am CT on Saturday morning.
All three games will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
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