Green Wave sneaks past Southeastern, 5-3

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Tulane baseball coach Rick Jones

NEW ORLEANS — Without the benefit of home run power in the lineup, Tulane’s baseball team piled together its offense when it had the chance.

A four-run sixth inning provided all the run support Tulane needed, as the Green Wave pieced together a 5-3 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in front of 2,089 fans in the home opener at Turchin Stadium.

It marked Tulane’s fifth consecutive win over SLU (3-1) and its seventh in the past eight games of this series.

Tulane starter Tyler Mapes allowed five hits and two earned runs over 6.2 innings, striking out seven and helping continue a string of quality starts from the Green Wave rotation. In four games, Tulane’s starters have allowed just four earned runs, allowing the Green Wave (3-1) to overcome a light offensive start.

Neither the Green Wave nor any of its four opponents have launched a home run this season, exemplifying the kind of small ball Tulane coach Rick Jones said he expected his team to play.

Yet early on, it didn’t appear to be a pitcher’s night.

Before Mapes (1-1) settled into a groove, he pitched himself into trouble, allowing a pair of runs in the first inning, starting when his third strike to Casey Bryan became a passed ball. The Lions took advantage, slapping a pair of singles around a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly to apply the early pressure on Tulane, taking a 2-0 lead before the Wave even came to the plate.

In the bottom of the first, Tulane threatened to quickly reverse the momentum, loading the bases before SLU recorded an out. But after Sean Potkay drove home Brennan Middleton on a sacrifice fly, Lions’ starter Kyle Cedotal avoided any further damage.

Both pitchers calmed down over the next four innings. Cedotal (1-1) retired 14 consecutive hitters and Mapes retired 13 of 14 before Tulane’s offense stirred to life in the sixth.

A Briggs Barrios single and Brandon Boudreaux walk prompted SLU coach Jay Artigues to move to his bullpen. Garrett Cannizaro promptly laced an RBI double down the left-field line to tie the score. The Wave grabbed the lead for good on the strength of Andrew Garner’s two-run single up the middle.

“It was a cutter, and it was what I was expecting, but I was struggling to hit it,” Garner said. “But I was just able to just poke it into center field and it was enough.”

Tim Yandel provided a cushion when his line drive dipped under the glove and skidded past a diving Bryan in center field, aiding an RBI double which capped the Green Wave’s four-run, four-hit inning.

Tulane hosts Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“The pitching is doing great and basically they’re controlling the game,” Cannizaro said. “When you have guys on the mound who compete as hard as they are and not walking guys, as an offensive player, it makes it a lot easier.”