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Max Resnik

With the season just weeks old, the Green Wave baseball team is off to a strong 8-1 start. The Indiana Hoosiers were in town last weekend, falling to the Wave 3-2 on Friday, 9-8 on Saturday and 6-2 in the finale on Sunday. Tulane has swept each of its first two weekend series.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Randy LeBlanc only needed three first-inning runs from Tulane on Friday night. A double, a walk and two wild pitches set up sophomore Andrew Garner and junior Blake Crohan to put the Wave up 3-0. In the third, LeBlanc faced his only trouble when a leadoff walk was followed by a double, putting two runners on base. A groundout plated the first run, and an easy ground ball back to LeBlanc resulted in a throwing error and a second Indiana run.

The Hoosiers threatened again in the fourth, loading the bases with one out, but LeBlanc prevailed, striking out the final two batters of the inning. In total, LeBlanc threw six innings of two-run ball with only one earned run, struck out eight, and earned his first collegiate win in five starts. From behind the plate, senior Jeremy Schaffer threw out three attempted base stealers in the game.

Saturday afternoon, the Wave jumped on Indiana with a four-run lead in the bottom of the first, and three runs came on Schaffer’s 34th career home run.

“We knew he was throwing a lot of fastballs,” Schaffer said. “So I was just going up there looking to get a good pitch to hit.”

The Hoosiers came right back, however, with two of their own in the second. After two quick singles yielded a fifth Tulane run in the bottom of the second, the Indiana starter was lifted in favor of reliever Jonny Hoffman, who silenced the Green Wave bats for three and one-thirds innings. The Hoosiers tacked on one more in the third before hitting two home runs in the fifth to jump out to an 8-5 lead. That score stood until the seventh, when junior infielder Brennan Middleton knocked in two runs to bring the Wave to within one.

Tulane proceeded to tie the game in the eighth on Crohan’s two-out RBI single. The game went on into extra innings, and after sophomore Alex Facundus threw over four scoreless innings, Tulane took the win on a bases-loaded single from sophomore Andrew Garner in the bottom of the 12th.

The finale on Sunday morning was a close game until Tulane took its final lead in the eighth inning, sweeping the series with a 6-2 win. Starting freshman pitcher Alex Massey had his second strong start of the season, taking the game into the sixth inning and picking up a no-decision. Scoring started in the third when Indiana freshman Chad Clark hit a solo home run to stake the Hoosiers a 1-0 lead. The lead was short-lived, however, because a single and two walks set up an RBI fielder’s choice from Nick Schneeberger to tie the game. Massey ran into trouble with two outs in the sixth, allowing three consecutive hits and a second Hoosier run.

“I thought Massey pitched really well today,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of his effort, but I’m really concerned about our starting pitching and strike throwers being able to get deeper in the game – as [he] did today.”

Garner replaced Massey, and Tulane escaped further damage. The Wave took the lead back in the bottom of the seventh on two-out RBIs from Schaffer and Garner. Three hits and a walk in the eighth set up Schneeberger’s third hit of the game, driving in the final two Tulane runs.

“Once again, Andrew Garner did a really good job offensively and a really good job on the mound for us,” Jones said. “It was a good weekend for him.”

Southeastern Louisiana came to Turchin for a single-game matchup Tuesday. The Wave absolutely dominated the Lions, winning 12-1 and improving to 8-0 at home in 2012. Junior pitcher Alex Byo got the start for Tulane and pitched brilliantly. After walking his first batter, Byo allowed five hits and struck out two in seven innings of work – the longest start for a Tulane pitcher this season.

“After walking the leadoff hitter, [Byo] settled down and the key for him was that he got the ball down the zone,” Jones said.

Offensively, the Tulane bats exploded with 12 runs coming on 14 hits, the third straight game in which the Wave picked up double-digit hits. Despite trailing 1-0 after two innings, Tulane took the lead in the fourth on junior infielder Garret Cannizaro’s first home run of the season, a three-run blast to put the Wave up 4-1.

Tulane would pick up four more runs in each the fifth and seventh innings to extend its lead to 12-1. Cannizaro finished with a monster game, going 3-for-5 at the plate with five RBIs and two runs scored.

“We swung the bats really well tonight,” Jones said. “They just kept changing their look with all the different pitchers they ran out there… I thought that this was our most complete game. We pitched well, played errorless baseball and had a couple really nice plays.”

The Green Wave will continue its red-hot start this weekend against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The series kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday night at Turchin, The second game of the series will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the series finale will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.