May 11, 2013
ORLANDO - Green Wave junior Andrew Garner hit for the cycle - the first for Tulane since 2001 - and the rest of the Tulane offense opened up, as the team recorded 20 hits in a 15-9 victory over UCF at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando.
Tulane (27-24, 10-10) clinched the series over UCF (27-24, 11-9), as Garner went 5-for-5 at the dish with two runs and seven RBIs. He was the first Greenie to hit for the cycle since Michael Aubrey accomplished the feat in 2001. Garner's seven RBIs tie him with Mark Hamilton, Jake Gautreau (twice), Keith Graffagnini and Tookie Spann for the second-most RBIs in a single game in Tulane history.
The Lake Jackson, Texas, native also notched his first five-hit game and only the second five-hit game on the season by a Greenie. Garner collected a walk in the top of the first before singling in the top of the third. He doubled in both the fourth and the sixth, tripled in the seventh and homered in the ninth for his historic performance.
"Garner's performance is pretty impressive, considering the last person to do it is the highest draft pick in Tulane history," added Jones. "He had a tremendous day. He played well defensively, and at the plate, he just got on some balls."
The entire team chipped in at the plate, though, as the Greenies recorded 20 hits for the first time since they did so against Ole Miss on March 7, 2010. Just one night after each starter collected a hit, junior Bowen Woodson and senior Tucker Oakley both went 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI each, while senior Brandon Boudreaux went 3-for-6 with two RBIs, and senior Garrett Cannizaro and freshman Cameron Burns added two hits each. Senior Sean Potkay and junior Nick DiMaggio also each recorded a hit.
"Our guys really came out with some great approaches at the plate," added Jones. "We had some really great two-strike approaches. With the way we were wounded today (with an injury to Brennan Middleton), who would have thought we would have hit the way we did."
Once again, the offense got going early for the Green Wave. In the top of the first, UCF starter Chris Matulis hit freshman Richard Carthon on the first pitch of the game, followed by a walk to DiMaggio. Senior Garrett Cannizaro bunted both of the runners over one base, before Matulis (5-4) walked Garner to load the bases. Potkay recorded the first hit of the game - a single to right field - that plated Carthon. The next at-bat, Boudreaux reached on a fielder's choice that scored DiMaggio for a quick 2-0 lead. With two outs, Woodson walked on four straight pitches to load the bases once again, but Matulis was able to get the next batter to hit into an inning-ending pop fly.
Similarly to Matulis, senior lefty David Napoli had some command issues early on, as he walked leadoff man Erik Hempe before he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by JoMarcos Woods. UCF's Chris Taladay hit a single into center field to put runners at the corners, and then on a 3-0 count, Napoli plunked Parker Webster to load the bases. Unfortunately, Napoli plunked James Vasquez to score Hempe, and walked James Vasquez to score Woods, tying the game. After giving up the two runs, he recorded back-to-back strikeouts against Bo Decker and Austin Johnston, as UCF stranded the bases.
Matulis settled down in the top of the second, allowing only one base hit. Napoli retired the first batter of the bottom of the frame with ease, but then gave up a home run to dead center off the bat of Hempe, giving UCF their first lead of the weekend. Woods followed that up with a triple into right field before he came home and scored on a passed ball, giving UCF a 4-2 lead. With two outs, Webster ripped a shot towards third base, but a diving DiMaggio - making his first career start at the hot corner - came up with the out to rob Webster of what was sure to be an extra base hit.
Oakley crushed a double to left field to lead off the top of the fourth, and moved to third on a groundout. Matulis hit Carthon on the shoulder for the second time on the day to put runners on the corners. Carthon swiped second for his second steal on the afternoon before DiMaggio reached on a shallow pop fly into right field to load the bases and extend his hitting streak to ten games. Cannizaro then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Oakley from third to make the score 4-3 in favor of UCF. Garner tapped one down to third base that was scooped up and tapped out for what looked to be the third out of the inning before home plate umpire Kevin Sweeney called the ball foul, giving Tulane new life. An errant pickoff attempt by Matulis moved the Green Wave base runners to second and third before Garner brought both of them home on a double to the left field wall to retake the lead. Matulis was relieved by Danny Davis, who retired the next batter to end Tulane's offensive barrage.
Spencer Haynes reached on an error by the Tulane infield to start the bottom of the fourth, and with two outs he moved to second when Napoli hit Woods. Taladay hit a single into right field in front of Garner, scoring Haynes to tie the game at five runs each. DiMaggio was able to scoop up another hard hit ball at third, tossing it across the diamond to first for the third out.
Boudreaux smoked a double into the left center alley before Woodson moved him to third on a single into center field. Woodson moved to second on a wild pitch, and after Davis recorded a strikeout, he allowed a double down the left field line to Burns to clear the bases, giving Tulane a 7-5 lead.
Junior Kyle McKenzie took to the mound to start the bottom of the fifth inning, replacing Napoli after his 4.0 inning outing. Napoli recorded three strikeouts, and only allowed four hits during his performance. McKenzie (3-2) issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced, but was able to get out of the inning unscathed, striking out pinch-hitter Jeramy Matos and Johnston to end the inning.
Garner recorded his second double - and third hit of the game - when he laced a grounder down the left field line to lead off the top of the sixth for Tulane's 10th hit of the game. That stat marked just the first time Tulane has had three straight double-digit hit games on the season. Garner moved to third on a wild pitch before coming home for Tulane's eighth run of the game on a double by Boudreaux - his second of the contest. Woodson brought Boudreaux home from second on a flare into left field. Oakley followed suit with an infield single before Davis was replaced by Harrison Hukari on the mound, and he was able to get the last out of the frame, but not before Tulane went up 9-5.
Carthon was hit for the third time to start the seventh, tying him for the most times hit in one game in Tulane history, and he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by DiMaggio. After Cannizaro notched a single to left field, Garner launched a bases-clearing, stand-up triple to the center field wall to give Tulane their tenth and 11th runs of the game.
Bret Gordon doubled despite a tremendous attempt by Boudreaux in center field to come up with the catch, but McKenzie continued to roll as he struck out Vasquez and Matos to end the bottom of the seventh.
UCF tacked on a run in the bottom of the eighth when Woods hit a bouncer that died and rolled under the glove of Potkay at first, allowing Breen - who reached on a double - to score from second. With two outs, Taladay lifted a ball to the right-center wall, but a streaking Boudreaux came up with the catch to keep UCF from scoring again.
Jimmy Reed opened the top of the ninth on the mound for the Knights, as the clouds that forced the game to be moved up from its original time rolled into the area. But the clouds held off just in time for Garner to clear the bases of Tulane runners as he hit his second home run of the year to earn the cycle. Oakley brought Boudreaux home on a sacrifice fly to give Tulane a 15-6 lead.
The rain didn't hold off, though, as the skies opened before the end of the top of the ninth. McKenzie loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame before he walked Matos to give UCF their seventh run of the game. Freshman Emerson Gibbs made his first appearance on the mound since March 26 against LSU. Gibbs struck out Johnston, but then allowed a single to Breen to score Gordon and a sacrifice fly to Hempe to cut the lead to 15-9. Woodson made a diving snag of a line drive off the bat of Woods to end the contest.
McKenzie was credited with the win, going 4.0 innings while striking out four and allowing only five hits. Matulis got the loss, as he went 3.2 innings, allowing five earned runs and six hits, while also walking three.
Senior Brennan Middleton missed his first action of the season after he injured his ankle on a pickoff attempt in Friday night's game. He will more than likely miss Sunday's game, as well.
Tomorrow, the two teams will meet for a 10am CT first pitch for the third game of the series. The contest will be broadcast on 88.3 FM and live stats can be followed through TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Tulane baseball program on Twitter (@GreenWaveBSB) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GreenWaveBaseball.