Richard Carthon hits game-winning single in 11th
Richard Carthon made sure LSU’s quiet bats wouldn’t get another shot to heat up.
Carthon hit a game-winning RBI single to right field in the 11th inning, and Tulane beat LSU for the first time in four years, stunning the top-10 Tigers 3-2 at windy Turchin Field on Tuesday night.
Carthon’s two-out line drive off reliever Nate Fury just cleared leaping second baseman Kramer Robertson and scored Jake Willsey from second base, eliciting a wild celebration from the green-clad dugout.
“I think it was a fastball low,” Carthon said. “I was excited as soon as I hit it.”
Right fielder Mark Laird threw home, but Willsey just slipped behind catcher Chris Chinea, sliding around him to score the winning run.
The Green Wave (13-11) had lost six straight to LSU (20-5-1) and had dropped eight of its past 11 overall entering Tuesday’s matchup.
“It’s tough to win college baseball games,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “Nobody’s going to give you anything. You’ve got to earn what you get. We’ve got to put it behind us and get ready to go to Gainesville.”
The Tigers travel to Florida (16-9) for a three-game series in an offensive funk. And the Gators? They beat Florida State, No. 1 in some polls, on Tuesday night.
LSU had just five hits Tuesday, and 10 of its final 11 batters were retired. Five of those 10 struck out — all against Tulane closer Kyle McKenzie, who pitched four sparkling frames.
“He overpowered us,” Mainieri said. “It was a shame. Just couldn’t get any runs tonight.”
It has been a trend.
LSU has scored more than four runs once in the past eight games. The Tigers entered Tuesday night with a batting average ranked in the middle of the Southeastern Conference, and they missed multiple opportunities Sunday (2-for-18 with runners in scoring position) in a 2-2 tie with Georgia.
“Just keep working. That’s all you can do,” Mainieri said. “Kids are doing the best they can. Some of it’s bad luck. Some of it’s good pitching. Some of it we’re not taking good swings at key times. Hopefully it’ll come around.”
Tulane won without coach Rick Jones, who also will not travel with the team to Marshall this weekend. A school spokesman said Jones is suffering from a “cardiovascular issue.”
“There’s no doubt it’s a huge win for us,” associate head coach Chad Sutter said.
Both teams struggled at the plate, where a 15- to 20-mph wind blew toward home.
They were tied at 2 for nearly the final six innings until Carthon’s shot brought home Willsey.
Willsey had reached with a two-out double off the right-field wall. It was Tulane’s first hit since a two-run single in the fourth inning from Stephen Alemais — a stretch that saw solid outings from LSU relievers Brady Domangue and Kurt McCune.
Fury, who started this career at Tulane, entered to start the 11th. He induced two groundouts to open the inning.
Neither team had mustered back-to-back hits until Willsey and Carthon did it.
Willsey’s liner down the right-field line appeared to be only a single, but he turned and headed for second base as Laird delayed the throw to second. The ball hopped off the green wall just a few feet away from fair territory, and Laird smacked against the wall while fielding it.
“Difference in the game is they hit a two-out base hit where our fielder fielded the ball and then crashed into the wall and lost his balance to allow the guy to get to second base,” Mainieri said. “And then they came through with a clutch hit.”
LSU didn’t have many of those Tuesday.
Kade Scivicque’s two hits represented half of LSU’s knocks through nine innings.
The other two: Jake Fraley’s bunt single, and Andrew Stevenson’s infield single to short.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” Mainieri said. “We didn’t hit a lot of balls hard tonight.”
Players loaded into the bus immediately after the game and were not available for interviews.
The Tigers had one hit from the sixth through 10th innings — a Scivicque single through the left side.
LSU survived off Tulane walks. The Green Wave issued a whopping seven of them, including four in LSU’s two-run fifth inning.
LSU could have had more in the frame.
With the bases loaded and one out, Sean McMullen smoked a line drive to first. First baseman Garrett Deschamp caught the screamer and then stepped on first base to end the inning.
Tulane left the bases loaded twice in the first six innings.
Mainieri is still trying to ignite his bats, again keeping with an order he shuffled in Sunday’s tie with Georgia. Alex Bregman batted in the No. 2 hole, and McMullen followed him. Laird batted leadoff.
The trio went 0-for-11.