May 12, 2013
ORLANDO - Tulane's baseball squad allowed three runs in the first three innings to UCF and never fully recovered despite another solid day at the plate, dropping the third game of the series to the Knights, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon at Jay Bergman Field.
Tulane (27-25, 10-11) managed to outhit UCF (28-24, 12-9) ten to eight, giving the Greenies double digit hits in four straight games for the first time this year. However, the Tulane pitchers issued seven free passes to the Knights, while recording only three strikeouts on the afternoon.
However, the Tulane sticks continued their hot streak, as junior Andrew Garner extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 2-for-5 performance that included his 15th double of the season. Senior Sean Potkay went 2-for-4 with his 15th double of the year and third home run of the season. Senior Garrett Cannizaro and junior Bowen Woodson both had two hits on the day, and senior Brandon Boudreaux added a triple to his resume.
UCF was able to take advantage of some wild hops in the infield in the third and seventh innings that allowed them to plate some runs.
"This is the second time we've had bad hops on a Sunday game here," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I thought our effort was good. We just walked seven, and that hurts. We won the series, and I really liked our effort today. I liked our effort in the ninth inning. Sean (Potkay) had a real good at-bat there to give us a chance. It was great to see Andrew Reeves throw the clean bottom of the eighth. But you just can't walk seven. I think we are playing pretty good baseball right now, though."
Cannizaro recorded the first base hit of the game on a single up the middle off UCF starter Brian Adkins, but he was the only hitter to reach base in the top of the first.
Redshirt sophomore Randy LeBlanc got the start on the day, making his first Conference USA start since April 5 of last year. The Abita Springs, La., native issued a walk to leadoff batter JoMarcos Woods in the bottom of the first inning. A shot to left field from Erik Hempe was run down by the speedy freshman Richard Carthon and an unassisted groundout to Potkay at first from Chris Taladay helped LeBlanc (4-4) record two quick outs. Woods did manage to get to second on the groundout, but he stayed there as Parker Webster hit a slow grounder to second base for the third and final out of the frame.
Potkay notched a leadoff double in the top of the second, and with one out, Woodson was hit - a common theme for Greenie batters this weekend. However, Adkins (4-6) was able to get out of the inning when freshman Cameron Burns hit a screamer to shortstop that was snagged by Bret Gordon to keep Tulane from crossing home plate.
LeBlanc walked James Vasquez in the bottom of the second, and Jeramy Matos reached on a fielder's choice when the Tulane infield committed an error on a play at second, allowing Vasquez to advance to third. Austin Johnston hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Vasquez for the game's first run.
UCF recorded back-to-back base hits to start the bottom of the third, and a full-count walk to Hempe loaded the bags with no outs. A grounder by Taladay that was sure to be a double-play ball hopped right over Cannizaro's head at shortstop, scoring two runs to give the Knights a 3-0 lead. Webster bunted Hempe and Taladay over a base, while the Greenies tallied just the first out of the inning. LeBlanc intentionally walked Gordon to load the bases. The inning could have been much worse for the Greenies, as LeBlanc struck out Vasquez and got Matos to fly out to Potkay to leave the bases loaded.
Garner extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single up the middle in the top of the fourth. He came home when Potkay blasted his third home run of the year to left field, cutting UCF's lead to just one run. Boudreaux continued Tulane's solid inning, as he tripled down the right field line. Unfortunately, he was left there as the next three Greenie batters could not bring him home to tie the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hempe extended UCF's lead when he hit a line drive home run to left field - his third round trip shot of the series. Taladay hit a single right up the middle. He was put out at second base on a double play attempt, but the relay throw to Potkay at first to get Gordon was in the dirt. Fortunately, a weekly tapped grounder back to the mound by Vasquez ended the inning.
Woodson reached on a beauty of a bunt down the third base line with two outs in the top of the sixth. He came around to score when Oakley hit a double off the top of the left field wall - a ball that was a foot shy of leaving the park - cutting UCF's cushion to just one run. Burns very nearly brought Oakley home on a shot right up the middle, but a nice knockdown of the ball by Adkins allowed him to record the final out at first.
Freshman Ian Gibaut came to the mound to start the bottom of the sixth, and he walked the first batter he faced in Matos. Johnston bunted Matos to second, and then Gibaut walked Breen and Woods to load the bags. Despite striking out the power-hitting Hempe, Gibaut allowed a bloop double to Taladay in right center to score two runs - putting UCF up 6-3 - before getting out of the inning.
Zac Favre took the ball from Adkins to begin the top of the seventh and he retired the first two batters of the inning before walking Cannizaro. Garner hit a slow roller to shortstop, and appeared to beat the throw to first, but first base umpire Ryan Morehead called him out, much to the dismay of Garner and the Tulane dugout.
In the bottom of the seventh, Vasquez hit a sharp grounder towards Potkay at first that took another brutal hop, ending up in right field to allow Vasquez to get to second base. A single from Johnston that just missed a diving Woodson's glove plated Vasquez, giving UCF a 7-3 lead.
Potkay reached first after getting hit on the back of the leg by a Favre pitch to start the top of the eighth, and with one out, Woodson hit a line drive single to left field.
Senior Andrew Reeves replaced Gibaut on the mound to start the bottom of the eighth, and he retired the side in order on just a handful of pitches to bring the Greenies to the top of the ninth.
UCF also made a pitching change, bringing Spencer Davis to the mound to face the Greenies in the top of the ninth. Freshman Tim Yandel pinch hit for DiMaggio in the inning, but he lifted a fly ball to center field for the second out of the frame. Cannizaro reached on an error by Taladay at the hot corner, and Garner doubled to left field to put Cannizaro at third. A ball hit to the wall by Potkay was caught by Woods to end the game.
LeBlanc pitched 5.0 innings, allowing five hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Adkins went 6.0 innings as he struck out five and allowed eight hits.
DiMaggio's 10-game hitting streak came to an end on the day.
The Greenies will return home this week for their final regular season series of the year, as they host UAB on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
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