Tulane drops series vs Shockers on Rick Jones Weekend

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane baseball dropped two of three games against the visiting Wichita State University Shockers despite an offensive renaissance from the Wave. The Green Wave dedicated the weekend to the jersey retirement of Rick Jones, the legendary former head coach of Tulane.

Friday featured a doubleheader between the Wave and the Shockers. Game one started with Wichita State putting up two early runs in the first two frames. In the bottom of the second, Tulane scored five runs thanks to a solo home run from Simon Baumgardt and RBIs from Brennan Lambert, Brady Hebert, Teo Banks and Brady Marget. Lambert, who was playing on his birthday, then hit a solo home run in the third inning and Marget followed, hitting a solo shot in the fourth.

Lambert was particularly effective as he went 3-3 with a walk and two RBIs and led the Slugger Birds to a 9-7 victory. When asked about playing on his birthday, Lambert said, “Yeah, it’s all good. You know, every day is a new day, no matter the significance, but [I’m] just trying to make sure that I do my job for the betterment of the team.”

On the mound, Tulane ace Dylan Carmouche delivered seven innings allowing four runs and eight hits, walking two and striking out nine. Gavin Smith was the setup man in the eighth, and Chandler Welch got the save in the ninth.

Between games one and two, Tulane honored Jones by retiring his No. 10 jersey. Jones coached Tulane for 21 seasons between 1994 and 2014. During his tenure, Jones amassed an impressive 814-445-2 record, securing more wins than any Tulane coach in any other sport. He led the team to two College World Series berths in 2001 and 2005 and also led the team through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where the team spent the 2005 fall semester in Lubbock, Texas.

Jones made a short speech in which he concluded his remarks, saying, “When it’s all said and done — there’s no doubt about this — I’ll go to my grave bleeding green. I’ll always bleed green. Roll Wave.”

Game two started out with a bang — the teams combined for seven home runs in the first four innings. Banks, Jacob LaPrairie and Marget all homered with James Agabedis adding two more with a single to give the hosts a 7-3 lead. However, an RBI double and a grand slam in the top of the fourth inning gave Wichita State an 8-7 lead. The normally reliable Ricky Castro, who was pitching on two days less rest, was shelled as the grand slam chased him out of the game much earlier than Tulane head coach Jay Uhlman wanted.

Jonah Wachter and Michael Fowler combined for 3.1 scoreless innings before things fell apart again for Tulane in the top of the eighth inning. Michael Lombardi — quickly and unexpectedly —  got two outs before loading the bases. He was relieved by Cristian Sanchez. After eight straight balls which walked in two runs, Welch entered the game to get the final out of the eighth and pitch a scoreless ninth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Tulane answered with a two-run home run from Jackson Linn, but could not mount a comeback in the ninth to lose 10-9.

Game three saw Wichita State’s Grant Adler face off against a bullpen game from Tulane. Despite using seven pitchers throughout the game, the Wave limited the Shockers’ damage and trailed by four entering the bottom of the sixth. After loading the bases with no outs, Tulane scored two by walking in a run and an RBI fielder’s choice. Tulane added two more in the seventh inning but could not break through to break the tie.

In the top of the eighth, the Shockers scored 3 runs as they were able to do damage to the two most reliable pitchers in Tulane’s bullpen: Lombardi and Fowler. The 3 runs were enough to earn a 7-4 win. Baumgardt said after the game, “Obviously, we fell apart a little bit defensively and pitching later in the game. [I] thought we were in a position to win. I think we all felt like that … We gotta find a way to put it together at the end there.”

Next, Tulane will visit the University of New Orleans before traveling to Cincinnati to take on the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in a three game set.

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