Feb. 21, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Three errors by Louisiana Tech (1-3, 0-1 C-US) in the fifth inning was all Tulane (5-0, 1-0 C-USA) needed, as the Green Wave capitalized for a 12-8 come-from behind victory on the opening night of league play Friday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.
LA Tech held a 6-4 lead after four innings of play, but three errors in the fifth by the Bulldog infield allowed four unearned runs to cross the plate for the Green Wave. Fielding mishaps coupled with back-to-back home runs to left field by Andrew Garner and Garrett Deschamp helped give Tulane a six-run inning for the lead and eventual win.
Emerson Gibbs (1-0) earned the win for Tulane after pitching 5.0 innings in relief. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out four after coming on in the fifth inning. Freshman J.P. France started for the Green Wave and gave up six runs - five earned - on nine Bulldog hits in four innings of action.
Phil Maton (0-1) was charged with the loss after giving up nine total runs - four earned - off seven hits, while fanning six Green Wave hitters in 4.0 innings. Freshman Eric Dunbar came in for Maton in the fifth and pitched four full innings in relief and gave up two runs - one earned - off five hits in his second outing of the season. Braden Bristo and Jared Keating combined to pitch the final frame for the Bulldogs.
"We have to make the plays behind Phil," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "We have to handle the baseball. You can't make those errors and expect to win. We had the opportunity to tack on runs and we didn't. They did that like a good team is supposed to do, but we will bounce back tomorrow and Sunday and hopefully we can even this thing up."
Tulane led 2-0 after half an inning of play, but LA Tech (1-3, 0-1 C-USA) put up four runs in the bottom half of the first inning with the help of four hits and two Green Wave errors to reclaim the lead, 4-2. Both teams took turns scoring two runs in the second and third innings to give the Bulldogs a 6-4 advantage after four innings of play.
The Green Wave added a run in the eighth off a sacrifice fly to right field by Garner, before completing their scoring for the night in the ninth on an RBI single to left field by Bowen Woodson.
A ninth-inning rally by the Bulldogs eventually fell four runs short, but not before Tyler Ervine hit a shot that cleared the left field fence with two outs and runner on first for a two-run home run, his first of the season. Qualls prolonged the inning with a line drive single up the middle, followed by Bre'shon Kimbell, who drew a walk to give LA Tech runners on first and second with two outs. Simoneaux then sent pinch hitter Conner Tobias to the plate with the Bulldogs down by four runs. Tobias fought off seven pitches, including five foul balls, before going down swinging to end the game.
The Bulldogs were led at the plate by Love, who put together a 3-for-4 performance with an RBI and two runs scored. The first six batters in LA Tech's lineup were a combined 13-for-26 on the night and were responsible for five RBI and seven runs scored. Johnson, Nichols, Ervine, Qualls and Kimbell each recorded two hits on the night.
"The guys swung the bats well tonight," Simoneaux said. "I thought we had a good mix of left and right handed batters. I think we let the middle innings get away from us, but their reliever came in and did a good job of closing it out."
Tulane's Garrett Deschamp led the Green Wave with a 2-for-3 effort with three RBI, a home run, two runs and two walks. The top four hitters in Tulane's order each totaled two hits on the night. Garner, who was responsible for the two-run home run in the fifth, recorded a team-leading five RBI, while going 2-for-4 with a home run and one run scored.
The Bulldogs are looking to bounce back in the second game of this weekend's series against Tulane with tomorrow's contest scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. Lefthander Luke Giddens (0-1) will receive the start on the mound for LA Tech, while Tulane will send right hander Randy LeBlanc (1-0) to the mound.
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