Junior David Napoli Tossed Seven Innings to Win His Sixth Game of the Season on Saturday at East Carolina
April 28, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Neither team could build a large lead on Saturday inside Clark-LeClair Stadium, but the Tulane baseball team did just enough in the end to claim the series victory over East Carolina with a 4-2 victory. The two teams were even at seven hits apiece, but the Green Wave took advantage of a Pirate error in the sixth and added an insurance run in the eighth behind a solid pitching performance from David Napoli.
"(David) Napoli was so good today and his stuff just kept getting better as the game went on," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We left him in for the seventh inning because his stuff was so good. Alex (Facundus) gave us a really good eighth inning and then D.J. (Ponder) competed for us there in the ninth."
Sean Potkay struck with his fourth home run of the season to open the scoring against East Carolina (27-16-1, 9-7-1 C-USA) starting pitcher Chase Joyner. The junior has hit all of his home runs on the road and he gave the Green Wave an early 1-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the second inning.
The Pirates struck with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the second inning against Napoli on three hits. A hit batter and a single started the inning and the runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt. After Napoli logged a strikeout of Phillip Clark, Chase McDonald singled past a diving Bowen Woodson to score both runners and push the home team into the lead, 2-1.
Tulane (29-14, 7-7 C-USA) would score the final runs of the ballgame, as they did on Friday night, adding two runs in the sixth and one in the eighth.
The sixth inning was started on a single from Brennan Middleton, who advanced to third on a fielding error by the shortstop, which allowed Brandon Boudreaux to reach base, as well. Garrett Cannizaro's bunt single loaded the bases and Nick Schneeberger followed with a single to the second baseman to knot the score at 2-2. Jeremy Schaffer followed with a sacrifice fly to left field and the Green Wave was back in front at 3-2.
In the eighth, Middleton got the inning started with a leadoff walk and Boudreaux moved his fellow junior to second base with a sacrifice bunt. After a groundout moved Middleton to third, Schneeberger gave his team a two-run cushion with a base hit up the middle. It was the fourth run of the game for the Olive and Blue and RBI number 41 on the season.
Napoli tossed 110 pitches in seven complete innings of work to improve to 6-2 on the season. The left-hander surrendered just two runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three in his eighth start of the year. Alex Facundus entered in the eighth and threw a scoreless frame and D.J. Ponder allowed two base runners in the ninth but got the job finished to post his eighth save of the season. The save is the ninth of Ponder's career, which moves him into a tie for ninth on the career charts at Tulane.
"We had some big at-bats today, too. Sean (Potkay) got us started with the home run and Nick (Schneeberger) came through again with a couple of big RBIs. It was a day that we needed to play really well and we did."
At the plate, Schneeberger posted his 25th multi-hit game of the year and his 11th multi-RBI game of 2012, with two hits and two RBIs on Saturday. Potkay moved his reached base streak to 22 games with his second inning home run and Middleton moved his reached base streak to 20 games with a one-for-three showing at the plate with two scores.
Tulane has now won all three of their road series in Conference USA play and will go for the series sweep on Sunday, April 29 when they take on the Pirates at 10:30 a.m. Central time.
- Tulane leads the all-time series, 23-13.
- Tulane owns a 6-2 record on the road in Conference USA play and has won all three C-USA road series in 2012.
- Sean Potkay extended his reached base streak to 22 games, going one-for-four on Saturday.
- Potkay hit his fourth home run of the season to lead off the second inning, with all four homers coming on the road.
- Nick Schneeberger posted his 25th multi-hit and 11th multi-RBI game.
- Schneeberger pushed his RBI total to 41 on the season with two runs batted in on Saturday.
- Schneeberger and Blake Crohan have each reached base in 11 straight games.
- Garrett Cannizaro moved his hitting streak to a season-long 12 games on Saturday.
- Brennan Middleton has reached base in 20 straight games.
- David Napoli picked up his sixth victory of the season with seven innings of work on Saturday.
- Alex Facundus and D.J. Ponder each made their team-leading 19th appearances of the season on Saturday.
- Ponder moved into a tie for ninth place on the career saves charts with his ninth career save on Saturday.