May 1, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - After a weekend in which Tulane's baseball squad played a total of 31 innings in less than 24 hours against Marshall, the Greenies dispatched cross-town rival New Orleans, 3-1, in a game that lasted only 1 hour and 47 minutes at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Tulane (23-22) got stellar pitching from redshirt sophomore Randy LeBlanc, who pitched a season-high 7.2 innings, before freshman closer Ian Gibaut sealed the game with his tenth save of the season. Despite a few good licks off the bats of UNO (7-40) during the contest, some great plays in the field from junior Andrew Garner and senior Garrett Cannizaro helped keep the game in check for Tulane, who - with the victory - rattled off their first three-game winning streak since the first week of March.
"We haven't been an offensive juggernaut any days this year so this is no different," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "So how do you win? You win with pitching and defense and some timely hits. Randy [LeBlanc] filled the zone up today. It was the best performance of his career since he got hurt early in his career. That was really impressive as good as he was last week. He didn't walk anybody, minimized his pitch count, and really pitched well."
The Privateers struck first, as LeBlanc (3-3) allowed a single up the middle to UNO's Dan Perkins, who made it all the way to third on a steal and an error on the attempted throw out at second. A double down the left field line off the bat of Andre Damiens plated Perkins for the first score of the game.
However, it would be the only score of the game for UNO, despite the Privateers outhitting the Green Wave, six to five. Despite being outhit, Tulane made big hits early, along with notching hits when it counted. To open the fourth inning, freshman Richard Carthon sent a screamer down the right field line that he turned into a triple. UNO starter Alex Smith then walked senior Brandon Boudreaux to put runners at the corners before Boudreaux advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cannizaro grounded out for the first out of the inning, but not before Carthon came home to score the tying run of the game. Boudreaux moved to third on the same play, and followed Carthon home on a single up the middle from senior Sean Potkay to take the lead once and for all.
LeBlanc retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh, and Smith (3-8) did so in the sixth before allowing the second hit on the day to Potkay with one out in the bottom of the seventh. LeBlanc nearly allowed a hit to Zacary Hawkins with two outs in the sixth, but a sliding Garner in right field was able to make the play to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, LeBlanc allowed a one out single up the middle to Seth Laigast before striking out Zach Pohto for the second out of the inning. A single through the left side from Zach Liberto brought the go-ahead run to the plate, and Gibaut replaced LeBlanc on the mound. UNO's Perkins hit a bouncer right back to the mound that was snagged by Gibaut and tossed to first to get Tulane out of the jam.
Tulane responded with a big eighth inning, as junior Nick DiMaggio led the inning off with a double down the left field line. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of freshman catcher Cameron Burns, and Smith was then pulled in favor of Stone Speer, who pitched eight straight balls to Carthon and Boudreaux to load the bases. With the bases juiced, Cannizaro popped up down the left field line, and even though it was caught, it was deep enough for DiMaggio to tag up from third to score the third and final run of the contest.
Gibaut returned to the mound at the top of the ninth, and plunked Damiens with one out. Damiens moved to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third when Burns had to throw Reese Kanter out at first after dropping the third strike. However, Cannizaro made an unbelievable diving play on a shot down the left field line off the bat of pinch hitter Jonathan Coco to throw him out at first for the victory.
"I don't know if you'll see a better play than the one Garrett [Cannizaro] made in the ball game," added Jones.
LeBlanc went 7.2 innings, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out five. Gibaut notched his tenth save on the year in 1.1 innings of action, striking out one in the process. Neither pitcher walked a UNO batter, marking just the third time this season that Tulane's pitching has gone a full game without allowing a walk.
The win gave Tulane their third victory over the Privateers on the season. The last time Tulane played a nine-inning contest that was similar in pace to this evening's was a 1 hour and 48 minute contest against Maryland-Baltimore County on Feb. 22, 2004 in which the Greenies won 14-5.
The Greenies will welcome Houston to town this weekend for a three-game series at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The two squads are currently tied for sixth place in the Conference USA standings.
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