May 5, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - A pitcher's duel broke out on Saturday inside Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, but it was the Tulane baseball team's offense that brought the crowd to its feet in their 3-2 walk-off victory over Southern Miss on Saturday (May 5). After tailing all game, Tulane loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning and Jeremy Schaffer delivered the two-run single to right field and gave the Green Wave their first Conference USA home series victory.
"When you win a game in walk off fashion that's a momentum booster for your program," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "We put ourselves in a position (to come back) because we kept the game close until the end. Kyle (McKenzie) came in and did a great job and David (Napoli) pitched well...we stayed close enough because of our pitching and our defense and that allowed us to be in that position in the end. We had some real good at-bats. Brandon Boudreaux, who has really been red hot, gets us going with a single, both Garret (Cannizaro) and Nick (Schneeberger)...had patient at bats to draw the walks and Jeremy (Schaffer) put a really good swing on that ball."
Southern Miss (25-21, 9-8 C-USA) had runners on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but couldn't score against Green Wave starting pitcher David Napoli. In the sixth, however, the Golden Eagles ended the outing for the left-handers. USM got the rally started with a pair of one-out singles and Ashley Graeter plated the first run of the game with an RBI base hit to right field. With runners on the corners and one out, a throwing error by Napoli loaded the bases and Kyle McKenzie entered the game in relief. Isaac Rodriguez then singled to center field to score the second run of the inning, but McKenzie was able to get the final two outs to hold the USM lead at 2-0.
Napoli was equal to the task over five and one-thirds innings, allowing just five hits to go along with one walk and three strikeouts. The left-hander did allow both runs in the sixth inning, but walked away with a no decision.
McKenzie (4-2) would hold the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard the rest of the way and set up a perfect ending to a gorgeous day at the ballpark. The redshirt-sophomore tossed three and two-thirds innings and surrendered just three hits and two walks. He struck out four batters in his 11th appearance of the 2012 season and set the stage for Tulane's first late inning comeback of the season.
With the score still standing at 2-1, Brandon Boudreaux started the inning with a base hit off of USM closer Bradley Roney. Garrett Cannizaro and Schneeberger both worked walks while trying to lay down the sacrifice bunt and Schaffer stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. The senior took a strike and then the count ran even with a ball from Roney. Schaffer then smashed the 1-1 pitch to right field, pushing Boudreaux and Cannizaro across the plate, to give him his first career walk-off hit.
The top three batters in the Green Wave lineup all scored runs and Boudreaux posted his second multi-hit game of the weekend with a pair of singles. Schaffer knocked in two RBI's for his 52nd career multi-RBI effort and added a pair of walks. Brennan Middleton moved his reached base streak to 24 games with a single in the fifth inning and Boudreaux's effort moved his reached base streak to 21 games.
The ninth inning comeback is the first time that Tulane has won a game when trailing after eight innings and just the fourth time that the Green Wave has claimed a victory when trailing after six innings. It is the fourth walk off win of the year for Tulane, who have also walked off against Siena (2/17), Indiana (2.25) and Brown (3/16).
The series finale between the Green Wave and the Golden Eagles will take place at 1:00 on Sunday, May 6 on the turf inside Turchin Stadium.
- Tulane leads the all-time series, 89-53-1.
- Tulane has won their four Conference USA series in six tries in 2012 (3 Road, 1 Home).
- Tulane posted their first victory of the season trailing after eight innings (1-15).
- It was the fourth time this season that Tulane has posted a walk off win (Siena, 2/17; Indiana, 2/25; Brown, 3/16).
- Brandon Boudreaux moved his hitting streak to six games and his reached base streak to 21 games with a fourth inning single on Saturday.
- Brennan Middleton moved his reached base streak to 24 games with a single in the fifth inning on Saturday.
- Jeremy Schaffer posted his 19th career game winning hit on Saturday; it was the first walk-off hit of the senior's career.
- Schaffer moved his hitting streak to four games and posted his 52nd career multi-RBI game on Saturday.
- McKenzie's win gives the Tulane bullpen a 13-2 record on the season his scoreless outing lowers the bullpen ERA to 2.12.