May 16, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Redshirt junior Randy LeBlanc nearly hurled a complete game and freshman Stephen Alemais had a big day at the plate for Tulane baseball, as the Green Wave took the second game of the weekend series against FIU in walk-off fashion by a score of 3-2 at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Friday evening.
With the game knotted at two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Tulane (22-29, 9-18) got two quick baserunners in freshman catcher Jake Rogers - who walked - and freshman second baseman Jake Willsey - who hit a bloop single to left field. Junior John Gandolfo pinch ran for Rogers, and he moved to third when sophomore designated hitter Richard Carthon loaded the bases with a single of his own. With the bases juiced, Alemais - who went a career-high 4-for-5 on the day - hit a shot up the middle that was knocked down by a jumping Albert Cardenas on the mound. Cardenas could not come up with a play after scooping the ball off the turf, allowing Gandolfo to slide across home plate for the game-winning run.
LeBlanc was outstanding on the night, as he pitched a career-high 8.1 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out five. He retired 14 straight batters from the top of the second inning until allowing a walk to leadoff the top of the seventh.
With a 2-1 lead at his disposal, LeBlanc came to the mound in the top of the ninth to work towards his first-career 9.0 inning complete game. With one out on the board, an error by the Tulane infield allowed FIU's (36-17, 16-13) Julius Gaines to reach first, and back-to-back singles from Josh Anderson and Edwin Rios allowed Gaines to come home to tie up the game. LeBlanc was pulled in favor of sophomore reliever Tim Yandel, who needed just one pitch to turn a double play off the bat of Zach Sweety to end the inning. Yandel (1-1) picked up his first-career win.
"First of all I am really happy for Randy," said Tulane baseball interim head coach Jake Gautreau. "I thought he went out there tonight and was amazing. We sent him back out there in the ninth because he's our guy and I thought he deserved that. He ended up obviously not getting out of the ninth and Timmy came in had a good pitch. We got that win because of what Randy did for us on the mound tonight. I am really happy for him because I thought we needed a good effort from him. I know he wanted to go out there and give it his best, and he did a great job."
Other than Alemais, junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp led the way offensively with two RBI, while Carthon went 2-for-4 for Tulane's only other multi-hit game. Alemais led off the game with a single to left field, and he came around to score on an RBI-double by junior first baseman Garrett Deschamp. Alemais singled to lead off the third, as well, and he reached third after stealing second and advancing a base on an error by FIU's catcher, before coming home on a groundout by Deschamp.
FIU scored their first run in the seventh when Tyler Hibbert walked to leadoff the inning before making his way home on a groundout and a single.
The Panther's Robby Kalaf got the start on the night, and he pitched 5.0 innings, allowing seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Mike Gomez was credited with the loss. Gomez (1-1) pitched 0.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits.
The double-play ball rolled by Yandel in the top of the ninth gave Tulane their 61st double play ball of the season, tying the 1998 Green Wave team for the most double plays in a single season.
Saturday will mark the season-finale for the Green Wave, as they will square off against FIU in the rubber match of the series at 1pm CT. Live stats can be followed through the GameTracker link on the TulaneGreenWave.com baseball schedule page. Additionally, the game will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH.
Prior to the beginning of Saturday's contest, Tulane's six senior players - Nick DiMaggio, Bowen Woodson, Kyle McKenzie, Andrew Garner, Tyler Mapes and Brady Wilson - along with Tulane student assistant Briggs Barrios will be honored during Senior Day ceremonies. The seven received their diplomas on the field before Friday's game since they will miss Tulane University's graduation ceremonies on Saturday because of their game.
The entire weekend will be Faculty and Staff Appreciation Weekend. Any Tulane faculty or staff member can call 504-861-WAVE (9283) to RSVP for their free ticket. Free food will be made available to attendees. 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.