April 17, 2009
Jonathan Garrett talks about his third win of the year
Jeremy Schaffer talks about the team's performance at the plate
NEW ORLEANS- The Green Wave baseball team staged their largest come-from-behind victory of the season as they knocked off No. 17 East Carolina in a 7-4 win Friday night to improve their Conference USA record to 4-6 in game one of the weekend matchup. Tulane, now 21-16 overall, was down 4-0 but behind the Wave batsmen and solid pitching effort of long reliever Jonathan Garrett, Tulane came out on top.
"We played well tonight," head coach Rick Jones said. "We played well defensively, we made plays and got timely hits and got solid pitching from Josh Zeid with the wind conditions being what they were. We got a tremendous effort from Jonathan Garrett in relief. He came in and settled and then we got some runs on the board and you could feel the momentum turn."
East Carolina put up three nondescript runs in the first and third innings, with Ryan Wood taking the second pitch of the game to left-center field for the solo shot after starter Josh Zeid's first pitch offering to leadoff hitter Trent Whitehead found the glove of second baseman Seth Henry for a ground ball out. The Pirate bats went to work again in the third when Wood (1-2, three runs) found his way on base, this time via the walk, bringing up Brandon Henderson. Henderson put a good swing on the pitch, driving the ball to left field where Tulane's Andrew Rodgers leapt up at the wall, snatching the would-be home run away from the ECU three-hitter for the second out of the inning. But Kyle Roller (3-4, two RBI)would get even, this time putting the ball out of Rodgers' grasp and picking up two RBI in the process to give the Pirates the 3-0 lead.
ECU tacked on another run in the fifth when Wood again picked up the one-out walk. He moved into scoring position on a passed ball and scored when Henderson singled to left, extending the Pirate lead 4-0. Zeid would face one more hitter in Roller but a base hit ended the righty's evening, with Jones calling on Garrett. The senior from Mandeville, La. quickly sent Stephen Batts back to the bench with the strike out and got the ground ball out of Devin Harris to work out of the inning.
The Green Wave bats, which had come out swinging all game, finally got something to show for it in their half of the fifth as the club put up a three spot. Rodgers led off the frame with an eight-pitch at bat in which he earned the walk. Jamie Bruno stepped in and hit a rod through the right side to move Rodgers to third. Matt Ryan followed with a RBI single to plate Rodgers and Tulane was on the board 4-1.With one out, Scott Powell (2-5, RBI) took Chris Heston back up the box to score Bruno and move Ryan to the hot corner. ECU tapped into their bullpen, calling on freshman southpaw Patrick Somers to face Sam Honeck with runners at the corners and only one out. Honeck took the first pitch he saw to deep center field, picking up his 54th RBI of the year on the sacrifice fly that plated Ryan, closing the gap to 4-3 after five full.
Tulane didn't let up in the sixth inning, as Drew Allain led off with a walk. Henry (2-4, RBI) and Rodgers both hit back-to-back ground balls, moving Allain station to station, putting him at third for Bruno. Bruno (2-4, RBI) hit a laser through the left side to plate Allain and knot the game at four apiece.
Tulane broke the game open in the seventh when Honeck drew the two-out walk, bringing up Jeremy Schaffer, who had been robbed of a home run in the fourth inning after a spectacular leaping snag by centerfielder Whitehead. Schaffer (1-4, two RBI) more than made up for the long, fly ball out, taking Pirates reliever Bailey Daniels to the same part of the yard, this time making sure it was well out of the reach of Whitehead. Schaffer's two-run shot gave Tulane their first lead of the night, 6-4. But the Wave bats weren't finished yet. Allain stepped in and quickly chopped an infield single, where he was driven in on a triple to deep left field off the bat of Henry, extending Tulane's lead 7-4 after seven full.
The Wave defense also put on some displays throughout the contest, with Allain showing off his arm. The senior moved from centerfield to right to start the eighth and promptly gunned down Roller, who had hit a shot through the right side and tried to stretch it into a double. Josh Prince flashed some leather when he cut off a ground ball headed for center, pirouetted and threw to Honeck at first to end the top half of the inning.
Garrett returned to the mound in the ninth to face the eight-hitter Dustin Harrington. Garrett worked fast, getting two ground ball outs in Harrington and pinch-hitter Austin Homan. Whitehead tried to breathe life into the ECU offense with a two-out single to right but Garrett stifled the Pirates' hopes and returned Wood to the dugout with the strikeout to secure the win for Tulane.
The Green Wave will look to win the series tomorrow as they take on the Pirates in game two at 2PM at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.