Brennan Middleton Scored Three Runs and Posted Two Hits in the Regular Season Finale on Saturday
May 21, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - Four Green Wave runs in the ninth inning tied the ballgame, but East Carolina tallied the game winning run in the 11th inning to hand the Tulane baseball team a 7-6 loss in the regular season finale at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. The Olive and Blue trailed 6-2 entering the ninth inning, but rattled off four runs to send it to extra innings, before ECU plated the game winning run in the eleventh.
"This is one of the tougher losses that I have been a part of," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "The hop (on the ground rule double) didn't go our way and it just got up in the stands. If it stays in play we win the ballgame. Nick (Pepitone) did a great job. The ball in the ninth just had eyes and got up the middle. We had runners on base and just couldn't push (a run) across. I was really proud of our effort...It just didn't work out."
The Pirates opened the scoring in the third inning with two runs - one earned - against Tulane (30-24, 10-14 C-USA) starting pitchers Alex Byo. Phillip Clark drove in the first run with a ground out and Corey Thompson followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Mike Ussery, who reached on an error earlier in the frame.
Tulane tallied their first run in the third inning, as Brennan Middleton led off with a doubled and scored two batters later on a double play, but East Carolina (37-18, 14-10 C-USA) added a run in the fifth and three runs in the sixth to push their lead to 6-2. The Olive and Blue tallied their second run in the fifth when Middleton scored an unearned run thanks to a flailed pickoff attempt with runners on first and third and two outs in the frame.
Byo received a no decision in the outing, throwing four and two-thirds innings with three runs - two earned - allowed on five hits. He struck out one and walked four before handing the ball to Drew Zizinia. Zizinia tossed one and two-thirds innings, walking three and allowing two runs, before Alex Facundus came in and allowed an unearned run on one hit without recording an out.
Nick Pepitone entered for Tulane on the mound with one out in the seventh and allowed a suicide squeeze bunt and got a strikeout to keep the Pirates lead at 6-2.From there, Pepitone allowed one single base runners in the eighth and ninth, getting a double play and a caught stealing to erase the respective runners.
Tulane came back to tie the game in the ninth, and nearly won the game, against Joseph Hughes and Seth Simmons out of the ECU bullpen. The first four batters reached base in the outing, with Bowen Woodson reaching via hit-by-pitch, Cody Robinson singled and Garrett Cannizaro walked to laod the bases. Middleton slapped a single through the left side of the infield to score the first run and later in the inning Matt Ryan's sacrifice fly to center field pulled Tulane within two runs at 6-4.
With two outs in the inning and runners on second and third, Jeremy Schaffer was intentionally walked to bring Nick Schneeberger to the plate. The junior dropped a double down the right field line and two runs scored. Pinch runner Nick DiMaggio, who entered for Schaffer at first, was standing on home plate, representing the game winning run, as the ball bounced over the fence, making it a ground rule double, thus sending DiMaggio back to third base. Simmons struck out Frank Florio to end the inning and send the game to the tenth tied at 6-6.
Both teams failed to score in the tenth, but East Carolina got the job done in the eleventh when Jack Reinheimer led off the inning with a walk. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second and, after Pepitone struck out Clark, Thompson singled up the middle to score the go ahead run.
With the Pirates leading 7-6, Tulane threatened in the bottom of the eleventh with two runners on base and one out. Nick Boullosa was hot with a pitch to start the inning and moved to second on a walk to Briggs Barrios with one out. Schneeberger stepped in and almost came through again. The junior hit a chopper to the shortstop who flipped to second for the first out of the inning, but Schneeberger motored down the line to beat the throw. Boullosa was charging hard from second and was heading home, which is taught by many teams in the nation, hoping that the double play was unsuccessful, which it was. John Wooten, the ECU first baseman was aware enough to throw home after Schneeberger was called safe at first base and cut down Boullosa at the plate to end the game.
Pepitone got the loss with four and two-thirds innings of work, allowing just one run on three hits. He falls to 3-2 on the season as he struck out two and walked two in the game.
Boullosa, Middleton and Schneeberger all had three hits in the game, while Woodson and Cody Robinson each chipped in two hits. Middleton scored three times, while Schneeberger posted the lone multi-RBI game of the contest for the Green Wave. Schneeberger extended his streak of reaching base to a team-best 16 games, while Boullosa has now reached safely in 15 straight games.
Tulane will open the Conference USA Tournament against second seeded Southern Miss on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30. Tulane will enter as the #7-seed and will play at 7:30 on Wednesday, 4:00 on Thursday and 4:00 on Friday. The championship game will be played at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, with all games being played at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.