May 10, 2013
ORLANDO - Senior righty Alex Byo pitched his second career complete game, and Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones won his 800th game at Tulane when the Greenies walloped UCF 8-1 at Jay Bergman Field on Friday night.
Byo (4-4) had to go up against one of Conference USA's top pitchers in Ben Lively, but the Baton Rouge native outlasted him, thanks to the Tulane offense, who notched 14 hits on the evening. Tulane (26-24, 9-10) had not recorded 14 or more hits in a nine-inning contest since they defeated Missouri State on February 18th in the third game of the season.
"Alex was just outstanding," said Jones. "He had all three of his pitches
Filling in for an injured Tony Rizzotti, Byo only allowed five hits while only issuing one walk. Lively (6-4), however, was plastered by Tulane early, as the Green Wave hitters notched 11 base hits off the UCF (27-23, 11-8) ace.
"It's so much easier to pitch when you have a seven-run lead," said Byo. "Our offense is rolling. I'm happier for those guys that everything seems to be starting to click at the end of the season.
Tulane took an early lead in the top of the second, as junior Andrew Garner came home to score from third on a double play ball. With two outs, senior Brennan Middleton doubled to left field after UCF's Erik Barber slipped on the wet field instead of coming up with the catch. Junior Bowen Woodson notched a single into center field that scored Middleton from second for a quick 2-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Byo allowed a double to Jeramy Matos, but he was left stranded as the righty was able to get Erik Barber to fly out to center field.
Freshman Richard Carthon nailed a double to the left field wall to lead off the top of the third for Tulane's fifth hit of the game. Senior Garrett Cannizaro did one better, though, as he lifted one over the left field wall for the first Green Wave home run in Conference USA play this season, giving the Greenies a 4-0 lead.
Nine-hole hitter Tommy Williams laced a double to the left field wall to lead off the bottom of the third, and he moved to third base on a groundout. However, a line drive to Cannizaro off the bat of Bret Gordon ended the inning, stranding Williams ninety feet away from payday.
Erik Hempe put UCF on the board in the bottom of the fourth when he hit his fifth home run - a solo shot - to left field with one out. But it was the only run the Knights scored in the inning.
Tulane's offense exploded in the top of the fifth, as Cannizaro singled and Garner doubled to put runners at second and third. Senior Sean Potkay hit a sacrifice fly to dead center field to score Garner and bring Cannizaro to third. With two outs, senior Brandon Boudreaux tattooed a pitch down the right field line, giving him a stand-up triple. Boudreaux did not stay on the bag long, as Middleton brought home on a single to right to give Tulane a 7-1 lead.
When the Greenies came up to the plate to start the sixth inning, UCF replaced Lively with Tyler Martin, giving Lively his shortest outing of the season. The results were not very different, as Carthon hit a one-out triple off the right field wall, and he came home on a single up the middle off the bat of junior Nick DiMaggio to go up 8-1.
Middleton, who has faced a series of bumps and bruises throughout his senior campaign, twisted his ankle with two outs in the top of the seventh on a pickoff attempt from the catcher. After staying down on the field for quite some time, he shook it off to remain in the game, and took the field in the bottom of the seventh. In the bottom of the eighth, though, Cannizaro moved to shortstop, DiMaggio went to third, and freshman Tim Yandel replaced Middleton in the lineup by going to right field. They didn't get a lot of time in the field as Byo only needed four pitches to retire the side in order.
Woodson skied high for a sno-cone grab of a line drive off the bat of Hempe for the first out of the bottom of the ninth inning, and Byo struck out pinch hitter Nick Carrillo before the second pinch hitter of the inning, Parker Webster, grounded out to third to end the contest.
Every Tulane starter collected a hit on the afternoon, and Garner and DiMaggio extended their hitting streaks to nine games each. Carthon, Cannizaro, Garner, Boudreaux and Middleton all had two hits each, as Carthon collected a double and a triple, and Boudreaux had a triple. Middleton and Garner both notched doubles , and Cannizaro's home run gave him his third round tripper on the season.
The victory gave Jones his 800th win as the head coach of Tulane, joining a group of only 14 other coaches who have posted 800 or more wins during their tenure at their current school.
On Saturday, the two teams will return to Jay Bergman Field for game two, but the contest will be played a little earlier than originally scheduled due to potential inclement weather. The first pitch will be at noon CT, with two lefties - Tulane's David Napoli and UCF's Chris Matulis - taking the mound. The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM, and live stats will be available through TulaneGreenWave.com.
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