NEW ORLEANS — There was only so long Tulane’s pitching staff could live on the edge.
After stranding 11 UAB runners on base in the first eight innings on Friday night, recording the final out in the ninth inning proved to be too difficult of a task. With the bases empty, the Blazers (21-34, 6-17 Conference USA) mounted a two-out rally to themselves to a 4-2 win over the Green Wave on Friday night at Turchin Stadium.
Locked in a 2-2 tie, reliever Andrew Garner quickly dispatched the first two UAB hitters via a strikeout and lineout but allowed the Blazers to keep a foot in the door by walking John Frost. Tanner Bryant capitalized on the opportunity by singling into left field before Tyler Mims broke the tie with a single.
Harry Clark’s pinch-hit single provided insurance, but it turned out to be unnecessary after Tulane failed to mount a rally of its own in the bottom of the inning, knotting the series at one win apiece and officially locking Tulane into the No. 7 seed for Conference USA tournament, which begins next Wednesday.
It was sticky from the start on Friday night for the Green Wave.
Starting pitcher David Napoli struggled with his control early on, handing the Blazers a heavy assist in the third inning by surrendering a single, then walking a batter before hitting two others as UAB grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Tulane put together a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on the strength of two hits, two walks and an error. Richard Carthon’s one-out double started the rally, followed by a Nick DiMaggio single. Bradon Boudreaux’s RBI single knotted the score.
UAB catcher Jacob German gift-wrapped the Green Wave its first lead by bouncing a throw to second on Boudreaux’s stolen base attempt, allowing DiMaggio to score easily from third.
The lead didn’t last long because of more spotty control in the fifth. After Napoli gave up a double to No. 9 hitter Griffin Gum, he walked two others around a sacrifice, prompting Andrew Reeves to come on in relief.
However, it was Tulane catcher Cameron Burns who caused the inning’s ultimate damage, as a passed ball sent Gum into tie the score at 2-2. Reeves was able to wiggle out of the bases-loaded jam by inducing a ground out, sending the game into a prolonged stalemate before the ninth-inning dramatics.
Tulane will attempt to bounce back and earn its second consecutive series win in the regular season finale on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Green Wave will send Randy LeBlanc to the mound for his second weekend start of the season.