April 18, 2014
CHARLOTTE - Tulane baseball fell to Charlotte on Saturday at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium in a record time of one hour and 40 minutes by a score of 2-1, despite redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc's first-career 8.0 inning complete game.
LeBlanc (3-4), who like Thursday night's starter Corey Merrill, was unjustifiably credited with the loss, despite fanning six and allowing just three hits, one walk and two runs - both unearned - on the afternoon for his second complete-game loss of the season.
LeBlanc was also on the mound when the Green Wave lost a 7.0-inning, rain-shortened contest against Marshall earlier this season by the same score as Friday's game.
Tulane's (15-22, 6-13) offense managed to outhit the 49ers (11-24-1, 4-13), 4-3, but a crucial error by the Green Wave infield allowed Charlotte to push two runs across the board in the bottom of the fourth.
With Tulane up 1-0 going to the bottom of the fourth, Charlotte's Brett Lang reached first on a high chopper that got under the glove of freshman third baseman Hunter Hope before coming home on a double by Des Roberts, who made it to third on the relay throw to the plate. Roberts was then able to come home on a sacrifice fly by T.J. Nichting to give Charlotte the lead, 2-1, and all they needed to win the series against the Green Wave.
Sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon led the Green Wave at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance, while scoring the lone run for the Green Wave in the top of the first. Carthon led the contest off with a double before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Jake Rogers and coming home on a groundout off the bat of junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp.
The one run was not enough, as Charlotte's Ryan Butler went the distance, countering LeBlanc's masterful performance. Through the first few innings of the game, both LeBlanc and Butler were able to scattered groundouts throughout the infield. LeBlanc turned on the heat in the third, as he recorded two strikeouts, both looking, to the first and third batters of the frame.
After walking freshman outfielder Lex Kaplan and allowing a single to freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais in the top of the second, Butler retired 10 in a row through the fifth inning until Carthon singled to second base to lead off the sixth. He moved all the way to third on back-to-back groundouts before senior outfielder Andrew Garner joined him on the basepaths after Butler walked him. However, both Carthon and Garner remained on their respective bases after Butler closed the door on the Green Wave with a strikeout.
Rogers collected Tulane's fourth hit on the afternoon with two outs in the top of the eighth on a grounder to deep short, but he was left on base, as Butler continued his solid outing by getting a groundout to third base.
In the bottom of the ninth, Butler needed just two pitches to record outs by Garner and freshman pinch hitter Barry Buchowski before he caught Hope looking for the third strike to end the game.
The contest was the fastest game by the Green Wave since the school started keeping game-time records in 1994. Last season, the Green Wave defeated UNO late in the season in a then-record one hour and 47 minutes.
Game three of the series will be played on Saturday at Robert and Mariam Hayes Stadium at 11am CT. Live stats can be followed by clicking on the `live stats' link on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page. The game will also be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.