April 26, 2013
CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Tulane baseball pitchers Tony Rizzotti and Kyle McKenzie combined to pitch 10.1 innings while compiling 15 strikeouts, but it was not enough as the Green Wave dropped a close contest to Marshall, 4-3, in eleven innings at Appalachian Power Park on Friday night.
The score was tied at three after the bottom of the fourth, but the hitters for both Tulane (20-21, 5-8) and Marshall (16-24, 5-8) routinely left runners in scoring position after that due to the pitching from both squads.
In the bottom of the eleventh, McKenzie (2-2) - who pitched 5.1 solid innings in relief - got a quick out in, but then walked Marshall's Aaron Bossi, who was 3-for-4 on the day. Thundering Herd Matt Kirkwood then put a bunt down right in front of the plate, but neither freshman Cameron Burns nor McKenzie got to the ball in time to put Kirkwood out at first. Sergio Leon then bunted towards the pitcher's mound, and McKenzie couldn't come up with the ball. With the bases loaded and just one out on the board, Marshall's best hitter, Isaac Ballou, sent a grounder through the left side to score Bossi to take game one of the series.
However, McKenzie pitched superbly until that point, as he struck out seven, while allowing only six hits after relieving Rizzotti, who struck out eight and allowed only five hits.
"We wasted another great pitching performance tonight," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "Kyle had great stuff tonight, and he deserved a better fate. We just, once again, in RBI situations, did not have many tough at-bats. We had ten hits tonight, but we just couldn't bunch them up enough. This is just a really frustrating loss."
Tulane got things going early offensively Senior Brennan Middleton walked with one out in the top of the first, and he stole second base with two outs before Marshall starter Wayland Moore walked senior Garrett Cannizaro. Moore walked his third batter of the game in senior Sean Potkay to load the bases. Junior Andrew Garner hit a short grounder to third base, and he reached on the play while Middleton scored from third. However, the throw to first from Bossi - in an attempt to throw Garner out - short hopped the bag, allowing Cannizaro come home as well, giving Tulane a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
Redshirt sophomore Rizzotti made quick work of the first two Thundering Herd hitters in the bottom of the first. However, Andrew Dundon reached on an infield hit that ricocheted off the glove of Rizzotti. Fortunately, Dundon attempted to steal, and freshman catcher Cameron Burns threw him out easily at second base.
Marshall's Nathan Gomez led the bottom of the second off with a double to the left center wall. On the second pitch of the inning - a passed ball - Gomez went to third. Rizzotti walked designated hitter Chase Vogelbach to put runners on the corners with no outs. After Rizzotti struck out Gray Stafford, Gomez crossed home plate on a groundout off the bat of Bossi. Rizzotti then struck out Leon to get out of the inning.
Moore walked Cannizaro on four straight pitches to lead off the top of third, and Potkay moved him to second on a single through the left side of the infield. Moore dealt another walk - this one to Garner - for his fifth on the evening to load the bases before being replaced on the mound by Matt Margaritonda. Junior Bowen Woodson crushed a ball into the left field gap, but Marshall left fielder Mardu Smith made an outstanding diving catch to rob Woodson of extra bases. Cannizaro did tag up to come home on the play to give Tulane a 3-1 lead before Margaritonda retired the next batter.
Rizzotti continued to roll, as he struck out the final two batters in the bottom of the third. One of those batters was Alfredo Brito, who was pinch hitting for Smith who was injured on the diving catch made during the previous half inning. However, Rizzotti got into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth after Marshall's Nathan Gomez reached on an error, and Vogelbach moved him to third on a double down the left field line. With two strikes against him and two outs on the board, Bossi hit one right up the middle underneath Rizzotti's glove to plate two runs to tie the contest.
Potkay reached on a throwing error with one out in the top of the fifth, and Garner moved him to third on a single to right center. With the next at-bat, Woodson grounded out to the catcher, but moved Garner to second base. Unfortunately, Margaritonda was able to strike out the next batter to leave the go-ahead run stranded 90 feet away from home plate.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Rizzotti walked Dundon on four straight pitches to bring Gomez up to the plate. Dundon was called safe as he stole second base, despite an on-the-money throw from Burns that looked to end the inning. Rizzotti then walked Gomez on a full count only to get Vogelbach to ground into a fielder's choice, ending the Thundering Herd's chance to take the lead.
Carthon reached on another infield single, and Middleton was hit by his second pitch of the game to put two runners on with one out in the top of the sixth. But Margaritonda atoned for his mistakes by getting consecutive groundouts to keep the Greenies from taking the lead.
McKenzie replaced Rizzotti on the mound to start the bottom of the sixth, and he allowed a one-out single up the middle to Bossi. Kirkwood grounded out to first base, moving Bossi to second to represent the go-ahead run in scoring position. McKenzie, though, struck out Leon on a knee buckling breaking ball.
Garner laced a one-out double to right field for his third hit of the game. He moved to third on a bouncer back to the mound by Woodson. Tulane sent Nick DiMaggio to the plate to pinch hit for Tucker Oakley, but he didn't fare much better at the plate, striking out to leave Garner at third.
McKenzie retired the Marshall batters in order in the bottom of the eighth. Marshall replaced Margaritonda on the mound with Ryan Hopkins, and with two outs, he plunked Middleton - his third time getting hit in the contest, which tied a single game Tulane record. Middleton swiped his second bag of the contest, but the Green Wave hitters stranded yet another runner in scoring position.
The Marshall hitters were retired in order in the bottom of the eighth by McKenzie, including back-to-back curveball strikeouts to the final two batters. Through that point in the game, McKenzie had retired eight straight hitters.
Garner secured his fourth hit of the game - a new career high - in the top of the ninth, but was caught stealing to end the inning with the score still tied.
In the bottom of the frame, Bossi hit a single up the middle and stole second. He moved to third on a grounder to first base. McKenzie intentionally walked Isaac Ballou to put runners at the corner. But McKenzie's breaking ball was too good on the night, as he struck out Eric Escobedo to send the game to extra innings.
DiMaggio got things started for the Greenies in extra frames with a blooper into center field. He stole second base before Burns moved him to third on a single to right field. After Burns took second base on a defensive indifference call, but once again, both runners were left stranded.
McKenzie struck out his seventh batter of the contest in Dundon to begin the bottom of the tenth. After allowing a single up the middle from Gomez, he got Vogelbach to ground into a double play to send the game to the eleventh inning. Josh King took the mound for Marshall and got two quick groundouts to second base before allowing a single to Potkay. On a full count to Garner, Potkay took off towards second base, but Garner swung and missed in what was ultimately the last chance the Greenies had to get on the board.
King (1-1) got the win, pitching just 1.0 inning - the least amount of any pitcher on the evening - striking out one and allowing just one hit.
Tomorrow, the two teams will play a doubleheader to close out the series, with game one of the twin bill starting at 11am CT. The second game will begin approximately 45 minutes after the first. Both games can be heard on 106.1 The Ticket, and live stats will be available through TulaneGreenWave.com.
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