April 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Senior right-handed pitcher Andrew Reeves made his season debut on Tuesday, pitching three shutout innings of baseball while striking out three and allowing no hits in Tulane's 3-2 victory over New Orleans at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
A weekend starter for most of last season, Reeves (1-0) has not played for Tulane (20-20) this season due to a mysterious forearm injury. However, he was told by his coaches that he would be making his season debut against UNO (6-33), and with a predetermined pitch count already in place, he made the most of his appearance.
"It felt just like I expected, I was a little wobbly, had the nerves flowing, but it was good to get back out there," said Reeves. "It feels like it's been almost a year since I've pitched competitively, and it's all because of a lot of work in the training room, a lot of praying, and I like to believe that all of that played a factor in getting me here today."
Reeves got some help from the offense early on, as Tulane got on the board first with a run in the second. They added a run in the fifth and sixth innings before UNO scored two runs late to make things interesting. However, Reeves pitching staff mates Kyle McKenzie and Ian Gibaut came in to keep things in favor of the Green Wave.
"That (Reeves' play) was a bright spot tonight," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "That gives us some more depth on the mound. We missed him. We missed him badly. Kyle McKenzie, that's two really good relief appearances for him out of the bullpen. And then, Ian Gibaut was really good for us there in the eighth and ninth, getting a double play ball for us, getting the two strikeouts, and then getting the flare back to him."
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the second inning, UNO starter Stephen Potter walked junior Bowen Woodson and freshman Hunter Lapeyre to put two runners on base with two outs. Freshman Cameron Burns sent a shot towards UNO's Zach Liberto at shortstop, and Liberto overthrew the first baseman, allowing Woodson to score from second for the initial run of the contest.
Reeves' rolled through the first and second innings, and with his pitch count still so low, he continued on into the third inning. His lone blemish on the day was a four-pitch walk to designated hitter Morgan Barger, who was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Reeves then struck out Chaz Boyer and got Liberto to ground out to second to end Reeves' night on the mound.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cannizaro nearly hit a ball that went all the way to the wall in left center on the fly before UNO's Boyer made a full-speed catch, crashing in the wall, for the first out of the inning.
"The catch their center fielder made was an ESPN highlight catch," added Jones.
In the bottom of the fifth, Burns walked with one out before freshman Richard Carthon joined him on the base paths after getting plunked by Potter (0-3). Andrew Shirley was brought in for relief at that point, and he immediately gave up a single to senior Brennan Middleton that loaded the bases. Shirley was then pulled for Stone Speer, who faced senior Brandon Boudreaux right out of the bullpen. Boudreaux lifted a 2-and-0 pitch high in the infield to third base that was ruled an infield fly. However, third baseman Jonathan Coco could not come up with the catch, and Burns ran home. Coco scooped up the ball and threw it to catcher Brian Dixon who dropped the ball when attempting to make a tag on Burns.
McKenzie kept Reeves' hitless streak going until the top of the sixth when he allowed a single to Boyer to lead off the frame. However, Burns threw him out at second when he attempted to steal, and McKenzie was able to get the next two outs easily.
During the bottom half of the same frame, Cannizaro started things off by singling to left center before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Senior Tucker Oakley then singled to center field to put runners at the corners. Oakley moved up a bag on the second wild pitch of the inning before Woodson fouled off pitch after pitch during a 12-pitch at-bat that resulted in a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cannizaro for Tulane's third run of the game.
However, UNO made things interesting by scoring a run in the seventh and eighth innings. Coco hit a one-out single to right field before Reese Kanter singled through the right side to move Coco to third. Coco came home on an infield ground out to score UNO's first run of the game.
In the next inning, Dixon singled to left field before being replaced on the base paths by pinch-runner Dan Perkins. The speedy Perkins stole second base, and subsequently moved to third on fly ball. Liberto singled up the middle to score Perkins to cut Tulane's lead to one run. Gibaut replaced McKenzie on the mound, and UNO's Zach Pohto immediately reached on an error by the Tulane infield. However, Gibaut got Zacary Hawkins to ground into an inning-ending double play to get Tulane out of trouble.
Gibaut walked Coco to start the ninth inning, but then struck out Kanter and Tim Broussard for the first and second outs of the inning. To end the game, Barger hit a flare that nearly got over the outreached glove of Gibaut, but the Houston native was able to snag the ball for the final out of the game.
Cannizaro was the only Greenie with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run. He has notched four straight multi-hit games after only recording four multi-hit games through the first 36 games of the season.
With the win, Tulane took home the First NBC Cup, awarded to the annual winner of the Tulane/UNO series. The Greenies held the trophy during the last two seasons, as they won the cup in 2011, and the two teams did not face one another last year.
Tulane will have a very rare weekend off, as they take advantage of the Conference USA bye weekend. They will return to action next Wednesday as they head to Baton Rouge, La., to play in-state rival LSU. After that, the Greenies will travel to Marshall for a three-game C-USA weekend series.
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