May 25, 2013
HOUSTON - Tulane's baseball team came from behind at Reckling Park on Saturday afternoon by defeating Houston 3-2, notching three runs in seventh in the season finale for the Green Wave.
Things looked bleak for the Green Wave (30-28) early, as Houston (36-22) starter Jake Lemoine retired 16 straight batters from the end of the first to the beginning of the seventh.
Down 2-0 to start the seventh inning, the Greenie bats came alive. Senior Brandon Boudreaux doubled down the right field line to get things started, and fellow senior Sean Potkay joined him on the bases after Lemoine (7-4) walked him, giving Tulane their first two base runners since the first inning. Junior Bowen Woodson brought Boudreaux home on a single through the right side to cut Houston's lead to just one run. Another single - this one from freshman Tim Yandel - tied the game at two as Potkay came around to score. The four consecutive base runners allowed by Lemoine were enough for Houston's coaching staff, as he was pulled in favor of Chase Wellbrock. Junior Andrew Garner - who was pinch hitting - flew out to center field, but not before both runners advanced. An errant throw back into the infield from Houston's center fielder allowed Woodson to come home for the go-ahead run, sliding in right before the tag on the relay throw from second base.
Bowen Woodson scored from second on a fly ball was special," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. "I know this was not the kind of season our fans wanted, or expected, but I'm real proud of this team."
Things started out slow, as both starting pitchers - redshirt sophomore Randy LeBlanc for Tulane and Lemoine for Houston - allowed two base runners each in the first inning. Seniors Brennan Middleton and Garrett Cannizaro both singled for Tulane off Lemoine. However, neither team scored after the first frame. LeBlanc allowed another two base runners in the second - both on walks - but with one out, Jonathan Davis grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the third, Landon Appling singled to left field before Josh Vidales walked to put two runners on with no outs. LeBlanc was able to strike out Kyle Survance on a pitch in the dirt, but the ball got by freshman Cameron Burns for a wild pitch, moving the runners up a base. Houston's Frankie Ratcliff grounded out to first base, but Tulane had to concede a run in the process, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Caleb Barker and Jacob Campbell singled off LeBlanc. With one out, they both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch - the second on the day from LeBlanc. A single into right field from Davis scored Barker - giving Houston a 2-0 lead - and moved Campbell to third. After walking Vidales, LeBlanc was replaced by senior Tucker Oakley, who got the start on the day at designated hitter. Oakley quickly got Survance to groundout Woodson at second base to leave three Cougar base runners stranded.
Oakley only needed two pitches to retire the first two batters in the bottom of the fifth. However, he walked Barker and then allowed a single into left field to Michael Pyeatt to put two runners on. A ball tapped back to Oakley by Campbell was quickly scooped up by the pitcher, but Oakley's throw to first took Potkay off the bag, loading the bases once again. However, Davis left the bags stranded when he grounded out to shortstop for the final out of the frame.
In the bottom of the sixth, Oakley plunked Appling to put him on base. A sacrifice bunt moved him over to second, and a free pass from Oakley issued to Survance gave the Cougars two runners. Napoli (5-3) replaced Oakley on the mound, and he immediately struck out Davis for the second out. A fly out off the bat of Montemayor got the Green Wave out of another jam.
After Tulane took the lead, they coasted. Garner stayed in the game - replacing Napoli on the mound - and allowed a one-out hit to Pyeatt before he was replaced on the base paths by pinch runner Ashford Fulmer. However, Fulmer didn't stay on first for long, as Garner picked him off before striking out Campbell to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Appling singled between two strikeouts thrown by Garner. Appling moved into scoring position after the second strikeout by stealing second. With Appling representing the tying run, Survance sent a shot down the right field line, but Potkay was able to make the catch on the drive, ending Houston's chance of tying the game in the inning.
Garner returned to the mound in the bottom of the ninth, and allowed a one-out single through the right side to Montemayor. Barker struck out swinging for the second out, and a groundout by Fulmer ended the game, and the season.
Despite only facing three batters, Napoli was credited with his fifth win on the season. Garner pitched 3.0 innings, striking out four, while earning his sixth save of the season.
Houston had an ample amount of chances to score, but they left 13 runners on base, while Tulane only stranded three.
Some of the finest to ever wear the Olive and Blue did so for the final time Saturday afternoon. Middleton, Boudreaux, Cannizaro, Potkay, Oakley and Napoli all notched time in the contest, while Andrew Reeves, Tyler Chamberlain-Simon, Greg Miller, Alex Byo and Blake Crohan watched their teammates end the season on a high note.
"I haven't had a senior class that has been more committed to this program, and to see them get the win today against a team that desperately needed a win, and the way we did it by rallying the way we did was special," added Jones. "I'm real proud to be the coach of these guys today, and all of these seniors will be very successful in their futures."
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