Hebert, pitching sees Tulane baseball past Columbia

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane University baseball won its first series of the season after taking two of three games against the Columbia University Lions. In a roller coaster weekend matchup, the Green Wave pitchers pushed the batters, led by center fielder Brady Hebert, towards a win.

On Friday, March 17, Tulane hit a low point with an uninspired defeat to the Lions. The Sluggerbirds were thoroughly grounded with Green Wave hitters striking out 17 times, only getting four hits and going 0-5 with the bases loaded. 

Tulane ace pitcher Dylan Carmouche looked average by his standards, giving up 5 earned runs on eight hits while striking out six. In the second inning, Columbia quickly got two baserunners, but Carmouche looked to escape the jam with a pop out and strikeout. However, a double and a single brought the score to 3 for the Lions.

In the bottom of the second, two straight doubles by Brennan Lambert and Jacob LaPrairie brought in 1 run for Tulane. After a single moved LaPrairie to third, Teo Banks’ attempted safety bunt was not hit hard enough and allowed the catcher to tag LaPrairie out at the plate. After a walk loaded the bases, Tulane’s next two batters, Michael Lombardi and Hebert, struck out to end the inning. 

The Wave tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the fifth when they got four walks and a hit-by-pitch that scored 2. Tulane loaded the bases giving them a great chance to capitalize with more runs. However, Jackson Linn, LaPrairie and Brayden Morrow all struckout to end the inning.

Tulane’s pitching fell apart in the sixth for Tulane. Carmouche allowed a double and a walk before he was pulled for reliever Michael Fowler. Fowler, however, allowed 3 runs — unable to stop the damage. Columbia tacked on 1 more in the top of the eighth for a final score of 7-3.

Frustrated, Tulane head coach Jay Ulhman said, “We have great practices, [but] there’s no game pressure, their stats, the wins and losses aren’t on the line … It’s unfortunate that we can’t get out of our own way right now.”

Tulane looked much improved in the Saturday game. Uhlman switched his Saturday starter from Cristian Sanchez to Chandler Welch, and it paid off — Welch pitched five innings allowing 2 runs. 

But Tulane was down two when they scored their first runs of the day in the fourth inning. The Green Wave took full advantage of three Lions’ errors and scored two with RBIs from Banks and Gavin Schulz. A two-run RBI single from Morrow pulled Tulane to a 4-2 lead in the next inning.

In the sixth inning, Lombardi entered the game in long relief and pitched a brilliant, four inning save. He struck out seven and allowed no walks and just one hit in a dominant performance. Along with an insurance RBI single, courtesy of Simon Baumgardt, the Green Wave cruised to a 5-2 victory.

Tulane’s Ricky Castro started Sunday’s series decider. In the five innings he pitched, he allowed 3 runs and struck out six. All 3 runs came in the fifth inning thanks to a two RBI triple and an RBI single. With two runners on and one out, it looked like the Lions could open up the scoring. However, Castro dug deep to strike out the next batter and finish the inning with a foul out.

“Yeah I just kept attacking them. I mean, they were hitting my mistakes. [I was] leaving the ball up, so I just had to focus extra hard. I mean, the fifth inning I just got a little tired too, so I had to focus a little extra hard to get the ball down,” said Castro.

Offensively, Tulane scored 1 run in the second due to an RBI single from Hebert. The Wave scored twice in the fifth to tie the game. First, Hebert scored on a throwing error from the catcher on a snap throw back to third. Then, Linn’s sacrifice fly out allowed LaPrairie to tag up.

Hebert, again, was the man to give Tulane the lead. He hit a hard line drive which was too difficult for the first baseman to handle, allowing a run to score.

The eighth inning proved to be the pivotal moment in the game. In the top half, Tulane pitchers got in trouble when two walks were issued with one out. Uhlman called Fowler out of the pen to rescue the situation. The Columbia batter hit a line drive straight back at the pitcher, who was able to make the grab for one out and throw out the runner at first to end the inning.

In the bottom half, Lambert was hit in the head by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in 1 run and a ground out from Brady Marget scored another. In the ninth inning, Sanchez, the former Saturday starter, came in and delivered a three-out save to give Tulane a 6-3 win.

Hebert was Tulane’s best player this series, especially at the plate. He went 3-9 with four walks, two RBIs and 1 run. He is batting .326 with an on-base percentage of .475. A pure contact hitter with a good batter’s eye, he is perfect for the leadoff role.

“I’m seeing the ball well right now. I think our team is seeing the ball well right now. I think we’re hitting our stride offensively … I start early. I see it long and when I do that I can hit any ball in the zone,” Hebert said about his hitting approach.

This week, Tulane is on the road to Seattle to take on the University of Washington Huskies in a midweek matchup. Afterwards, they have a three-game series against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Manoa, Hawaii.

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