Blown saves cost Tulane baseball against top teams

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

tulane baseball
Courtesy of Parker Waters

Tulane University baseball competed against two of the best teams in the nation last week. The Green Wave was in prime position to beat the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles midweek and the East Carolina University Pirates in the weekend series, but two crucial blown saves doomed the Wave. 

On April 25, Tulane hosted Southern Miss which currently has a record of 28-15. Things initially went well for the hosts when Brady Hebert scored on a fielding error in the first and Gavin Schulz hit a solo home run in the second. However, Tulane faltered in the third when the Golden Eagles put up 8 runs. 

Gavin Smith started the inning on the mound for the Wave, but an injury forced him out of the game after only six pitches. Ethan Mishra took over but quickly gave up a 2-run home run. Tulane head coach Jay Uhlman replaced Mishra with Tayler Montiel, who used to play for Southern Miss. Montiel could not stop the bleeding as he let up a 2-run RBI single, a 2-run RBI double and a 2-run home run.

After a scoreless fourth, Tulane mounted an extraordinary comeback with 3 home runs between the fifth and the sixth. In the fifth, Schulz hit a 3-run home run while the sixth saw Hebert and Brennan Lambert both launch 2-run home runs. After a solo home run courtesy of Teo Banks in the eighth, the Wave held a 10-8 lead heading into the ninth. Billy Price and Michael Fowler could not stop the Southern Miss offense — they gave up 3 runs total. After a failed comeback in the ninth, the Wave fell 11-10 to the visitors.

The Green Wave traveled to Greenville, North Carolina to take on the No. 12 ECU Pirates. Inclement weather halted game one on Friday, April 28, but the game restarted on Saturday, April 29. Due to forecasted weather on Sunday, April 30, the game was moved up to Saturday, meaning that the two schools played three games that day.

In game one, the Wave fell behind 4-2 after two innings but came back with a 4-run fifth inning, courtesy of an Hebert sacrifice fly out and home runs from Banks and Simon Baumgardt. Banks hit home runs in the sixth and eighth innings to give the Wave a 10-6 lead going to the bottom of the eighth. 

Things went awry when Fowler and Chandler Welch could not keep the 4-run lead with just six outs remaining. A two-run walk off RBI single from Lane Hoover lifted the Pirates over the Wave.

In game two, Wave starter Ricky Castro pitched a masterpiece en route to an 8-0 victory. Offensively, Lambert and Baumgardt homered while Banks and Brady Marget also contributed with RBIs. On the mound, Castro pitched a complete nine innings on 105 pitches giving up just three hits and two walks.

With all to play for in game three, the teams were knotted at 2 after five innings. However, the Pirates opened up the scoring with a 6-run sixth inning. Despite a late comeback bid fueled mainly by Marget, the Wave dropped the contest 8-6.

Tulane next plays Southern Miss again, although this time the game will be in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Wave only has three more series remaining on the schedule.

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