|Tyler Mapes made the start for Tulane's first mid-week contest of the year|
[First of all, I’d like to apologize for my absence and lack of baseball coverage for the past week (has it really been that long?). Midterms were calling! I’ll be more consistent from now on, promise.]
Tulane baseball recorded its seventh win of the season and improved to 7-1 on the year Tuesday night in Thibodaux as it took on in-state rival Nicholls State for the first mid-week contest of the season.
The game started off slowly for both teams on the humid south Louisiana evening, and neither team recorded a hit until the fifth inning when Stephen Alemais broke the silence with a two out single up the middle. Jake Rogers drew a walk in his turn at the plate, followed by another single from Carthon that would result in Alemais being thrown out at home to end the inning. Despite the excitement, through five innings, both teams came up without any runs on the board.
This would be the closest either squad came to scoring a run for most of the night, as the Green Wave put together two more hits in the next few innings from John Gandolfo and Hunter Hope but came up empty, leaving runners stranded both times.
Nicholls threatened several times throughout the game, receiving bases on two hits, a Green Wave error and a hit by pitch from Mapes, but ended up stranding three runners and losing one to a seeming effortless throw down to second by Jake Rogers that gunned down an attempted stolen base - NOBODY steals on Rogers!
(Curtis Akey - the super awesome baseball media guy - affectionately refers to Rogers as “the cannon from Canyon.” Truer words have never been spoken! This kid has an ARM!)
It wasn’t until the eighth inning that Tulane recorded the first and only run of the night in the low scoring ballgame. Rogers, who had only four hits prior to tonight’s contest, blasted a hard-hit double to the center field wall to start the Green Wave off in the inning. The speedy Carthon delivered on one of his familiar bunt-for-single at bats and made it to second on a throwing error that brought Rogers in to score. A HELLUVA HULLABALOO!
Tulane drew an impressive crowd at Ray E. Didier Field, nearly filling the first base side bleachers (they’re stingy with chairbacks in Thibodaux) and giving the taunting Kappa Sigs of Nicholls in right field a run for their money when it came to cheering on their favorite team. The frat crowd made things interesting in the first low-scoring game of the year, heckling Green Wave players both in the field and at the plate. They picked Tyler “T-Willy” Wilson as their player of the game, mercilessly taunting today’s starting first baseman throughout the night (Bowen Woodson experienced back tightness before the game and sat tonight’s contest out). The frat stars were even classy enough to congratulate Wilson after the game!
Redshirt senior Tyler Mapes got the ball and made his second start of the year for the Green Wave Tuesday, going seven shutout innings and only giving up one hit while striking out five. Sophomore Daniel Rankin replaced Mapes in the seventh and, despite giving the Colonels their second hit of the night, preserved the Tulane lead going into the ninth.
Andrew Garner came in from right field to close the game for the Green Wave in his first mound appearance of the season and sat the Colonels down in order, delivering Tulane its second shutout victory of the year (7-0 vs UAPB Feb. 14). Garner will act as the primary closer for the Green Wave until sophomore Ian Gibaut, who was also sidelined for most of the fall, is healthy.
Unfortunately, head coach Rick Jones didn’t have much to say about when Gibaut would be back.
“I wish I could tell you [the timeframe for Gibaut’s return],” Jones said after the game. “I thought he’d have been back by now but I don’t think it’s close yet.”
But for a team that is so deep in the bullpen, the Green Wave pitching staff should be able to hold down the fort until Gibaut makes it back to the mound.
The Green Wave will return to action on Friday night (?) for a three game home series against Sacred Heart. Athletics is hoping the first pitch will go out at 6:30 p.m. for Turchin’s first night game of the year, but the lights that I saw tonight don’t seem to be any less intense than they were a few weeks ago. This time I actually wouldn’t mind another day game for a series opener...Krewe d’Etat, anyone?