April 16, 2011
HOUSTON, Texas - A two-run deficit heading into the seventh turned into a three-run lead going into the ninth, as the Tulane baseball team rallied to grab their first win at Reckling Park in school history on Saturday (April 16) afternoon by a score of 7-4. D.J. Ponder retired the final ten batters of the game to pick up the win and three different Green Wave hitters posted two RBI's to even the series at one game apiece.
"We came back because of some good quality at-bats late in the game," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We played well defensively and Zizinia gave us a good of a performance in the start. D.J. (Ponder) was the best he's been since he has been (at Tulane). He touched 90 (mph) today and his breaking ball was good, but the key today was his velocity. We have to give a lot of credit for this win to Bob Toledo and Dan Dodd."
It was a good another good start to a game for Tulane (21-14, 4-7 C-USA) as they opened the scoring in the first inning against Owls starting pitcher Matthew Reckling. Nick Boullosa and Matt Ryan both walked and, after Reckling struck out the next two batters, Frank Florio loaded the bases with a walk of his own. Brandon Boudreau followed with a singled through the left side of the infield, scoring Boullosa and Ryan, and gave the Green Wave an early 2-0 lead.
Rice (25-14, 7-4 C-USA) grabbed the lead against Tulane starting pitcher Drew Zizinia in the third inning when Craig Manuel and Shane Hoelscher each hit home runs. Zizinia got a pair of fly ball outs in the frame, but a walk and a flare single put two runners on base for Manuel. The junior then flew a ball to right field that cleared the fence and put the Owls on top. Hoelscher followed with a solo home run of his own to left field to make it a 4-2 edge for the Owls.
Zizinia tossed five and two thirds innings, allowing four runs on six hits in his fifth start of the season. The senior struck out four batters and walked eight, but forced the Owls to strand ten base runners in the outing.
The Green Wave tied the game up in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs against Reckling, who was relieved in the inning by Jeremy Fant. Reckling retired the first batter of the inning, hit Ryan and Jeremy Schaffer doubled for his 18th time in 2011 to put two on with one out. Blake Crohan reached when the newly inserted Fant dropped a toss from the Owls first baseman at first base. The error allowed Ryan to score from third and Schaffer scored a batter later when Florio singled up the middle. Abe Gonzales came on to retire the final two batters of the inning, but the game was anew with the score tied at 4-4.
After Ponder retired the side in the seventh, the Green Wave offense answered with three runs in the top of the ninth. Bowen Woodson doubled with one out in the frame, but was erased on a base running blunder on a Boullosa fielders choice. Boullosa reached second, as Woodson stayed in the rundown, and came around to score when Ryan doubled to right center. An intentional walk to Schaffer was followed by RBI singles from Crohan and Florio and Tulane led 7-4.
Ponder retired all ten batters that he faced in the game, coaxing three fly ball outs in the ninth to pick up his third win of the season. The junior struck out one and didn't allow a base runner in three and one-thirds innings of work to improve to 3-0 this season.
"There aren't a lot of schools that would let one of their quarterbacks leave town during their spring game and they did," Jones said. "What he did for three and one-third (innings), getting us out of a bases loaded jam and then going through (their batting order) pretty quickly. He will have a prominent role down the stretch for us, he was really good today. He was very economical with his pitches and went right after (the batters)."
Ryan reached base three times in the contest - all in different ways - as the junior walked, was hit by a pitch and doubled, while scoring three runs and driving in an RBI. The middle of the lineup really came through the Tulane, as Boudreaux, Crohan and Florio all drove in two RBI's in the game. Schaffer, Boudreaux and Florio all chipped in two hits to help the Green Wave out-hit Rice, 9-6.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the Green Wave and Owls will face off in the rubber game on Sunday, April 17. The first pitch will take place at 1:00 at Reckling Park with Taylor Wall starting on the mound for Rice against Tulane's Alex Byo.