April 27, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Three weeks ago Wade Konvicka was wearing the "redshirt", but after injuries decimated the Tulane baseball team's pitching rotation, the freshman was thrust into action and on Wednesday night against Jackson State he tossed the team's first complete game since 2009 in a 9-1 victory over the Tigers.
"Wade Konvicka gave us a big lift in throwing the complete game," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "He was a hitter from coming out, but got the three (balls), one (strike) call and then got the pop out to end the game. That was good...We had too many at bats early where we took pitches that we should be hammering. We took a lot of hanging breaking balls and chased some balls with defensive swings. The biggest issue we are dealing with right now is ourselves. Is our talent level the best we've ever had here, no, but is it good enough, sure it is. We are just playing very tentative right now."
The outing started out a little rocky for Konvicka who allowed a leadoff single and then walked a batter to put two runners on base with one no outs. The base runners both broke on the next pitch and the runner from first to second got into a rundown and the lead runner eventually scored as the defense tagged out the trail runner.
Jackson State (20-20) led 1-0, but the Green Wave would even the score with a run of their own in the first inning Nick Boullosa singled and advanced to second on the first of four failed pickoff attempts for the JSU pitching staff. After stealing third base, the senior trotted home to knot the game at one run apiece on a Blake Crohan ground out.
"I felt I settled in in the fourth inning," said Konvicka. "I got out of that inning in about six pitches and I started finding the zone and felt confident. (From that point) I just started rolling through the innings and the defense really helped me out tonight."
In the fourth, Nick Schneeberger singled and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt before Bowen Woodson's sacrifice fly gave Tulane the lead for good. Two more unearned runs in the fifth inning extended the lead to 4-1 and a five-run sixth inning was all that Konvicka needed on the evening.
Crohan and Schneeberger each collected RBI's in the fifth, while nine batters came to the plate in the sixth, with Woodson collected the big two-RBI single to close out the scoring. After a flyout started the inning, five straight batters reached base and Woodson capped the inning to grab his fifth multi-RBI game of the season.
All the while, Konvicka was retiring the Tigers in order for six straight innings before a single by Kendall Logan led off the ninth. After a double play erased the base runner, another single followed, but the left-hander got Charles Epperson to fly out to right field and collect his second win of the season.
On the night, Konvicka (2-0) faced just four batters over the minimum, walking one and striking out three. In nine innings he surrendered five hits and allowed just one runner past second base. He threw just 115 pitches and, along with his three punch outs, coaxed seven groundouts and 15 fly outs to record the team's first complete game since May 10, 2009 when Conrad Flynn went the distance versus UAB.
Offensively, Tulane posted nine hits and seven of the nine starters drew walks in the contest. Boullosa and Brandon Boudreaux led the way with two hits apiece, while Woodson drove in three RBI's. Crohan and Schneeberger each collected two runs batted in and Boullosa added four stolen bases in the victory. The four stolen bases make the senior just the sixth player in Tulane history to steal four or more bases in a single game.
The Green Wave will open their weekend series with UAB on Friday, April 29 with a 6:30 contest on the Turf at Turchin. Tulane will host the Blazers on Saturday at 2:00 and close out the series on Sunday at 1:00 at Turchin Stadium.