May 3, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane baseball freshmen Grant Brown, Lex Kaplan and Stephen Alemais all came up big at the plate on Saturday by providing run support for starting pitcher Randy LeBlanc in the Green Wave's 5-3 win over Conference USA opponent Southern Miss at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
LeBlanc (4-4) picked up his fourth win of the season, despite a rocky fifth inning, and had some runs to play with as Tulane (19-25, 7-14) scored four times in the bottom of the fourth to take an early lead against Southern Miss (28-20, 15-8).
With the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth, Brown walked with one out on the board before freshman catcher Jake Rogers moved him up to third on a single. Sophomore designated hitter Richard Carthon put down a sacrifice bunt down the first base line in an attempt to score Brown on a squeeze, and a fielding error by Southern Miss' Bradley Roney allowed just that.
However, the runs did not stop there, as Southern Miss' Christian Talley walked freshman second baseman Jake Willsey to load the bases for Alemais, who doubled in Carthon and Rogers before Kaplan notched an RBI-single to score Willsey.
Alemais had two doubles on the afternoon, as he also notched one in the bottom of the first on his way to a 2-for-4 day with two RBI and a walk. Kaplan went 2-for-3 at the dish with a run scored. But it was Brown, a Gulfport, Miss., native who stepped up big for the Green Wave, securing his first-career three-hit contest, as he went 3-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk.
"You can't say enough about what Grant Brown did for us today," said Tulane baseball interim head coach Jake Gautreau. "I'm very happy for him. He's a guy that has not had many opportunities early in the year, but has made the most of them here lately. Southern Miss being an instate school; he's a Mississippi boy, so it's nice to see him do well today."
LeBlanc pitched 7.0 innings, while allowing six hits and three earned runs in addition to walking one and striking out four. The win for the Abita Springs, La., native was his first since defeated UTSA on April 4.
Sophomore reliever Tim Yandel pitched the final 2.0 innings, and while he did give up a hit in the bottom of the ninth to end his hitless streak, the Woodstock, Ga., native has not allowed a run in his last five appearances. He also picked up his first career save on Saturday.
The lone bump in the road for the Green Wave and LeBlanc occurred in the top of the fifth, as the Golden Eagles' Dylan Burdeaux singled up the middle and moved to second on a ground out before Austin Roussel recorded an RBI-triple on a 3-2 pitch. After that first run, Nick Dawson singled to left center to score Roussel to cut Tulane's lead in half.
In the top of the seventh, Roussel added to his day with his fourth home run of the year to make it just a one-run ballgame.
But Tulane battled back in the bottom of the seventh, as Kaplan singled to lead things off before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp. Freshman third baseman Hunter Hope singled to deep in the hole at shortstop to move Kaplan over a base before Brown doubled just over the head of a leaping Roney at first base to score Kaplan, giving Tulane the run back they gave up the top half of the same inning.
Talley (3-4) was credited with the loss, as he was pulled from the game in the bottom of the fourth with just 3.1 innings of work to his name. He allowed five hits and four earned runs while walking two and striking out four. Jake Winston pitched 3.1 innings for the Golden Eagles, allowing four hits and the one run in the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Milton finished the game on the hill for Southern Miss, pitching 1.1 innings and striking out one.
The rubber match of the series will begin at 1pm CT on Sunday afternoon. The game will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH, while live stats will be provided through the GameTracker link on TulaneGreenWave.com's baseball schedule page.
Redshirt senior Tyler Mapes will start on the mound for the Green Wave, while Southern Miss will use sophomore righty Cody Carroll.
Sunday will be Academy Sports Kids Day at the park, where kids can stand next to their favorite players during the National Anthem before the game while also having the opportunity to run the basepaths after the contest.
Single game tickets are available for the weekend contests. For more information on tickets, call 504-861-WAVE (9283), or visit the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center's first-floor ticket office.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.