Alex Byo sparkles as Tulane notches 2-1 victory over UTSA

Tulane senior right-hander sparkles in 2-1 victory over UTSA

NEW ORLEANS — Senior right-hander Alex Byo pitched seven innings, striking out five Texas-San Antonio batters and allowing only one run, as Tulane notched a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Turchin Stadium.

One week after pitching his first career complete game in a losing cause, Byo, a Parkview Baptist graduate, got some early run support from his teammates in Saturday’s nonconference baseball game. They scored two runs in the second inning — but that was it. Byo (2-2) and reliever Ian Gibaut did the rest.

“We need to get runs anywhere along the line in the course of the ballgame,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “We’ve done this before and do exactly what we did today: get into a lull. We had some good at-bats. Blake Crohan and Brandon Boudreaux hit a lot harder balls than they had to show for it. At the same time, it’s about runs.

“You can get out-hit and still win. I was excited about our approach early. About half of our club, I thought, had the same approach throughout the game, and we’ve got to be mentally tougher than that. I thought we got away from it, and it showed.”

Of the six hits Byo allowed, two came in the second inning. Tony Ramirez laced a one-out single in the top of the inning for the Roadrunners (13-6), and John Bormann followed with a bunt single down the third-base line. Byo then walked John Welborn to load the bases. But he struck out Rodney Garza for the second out before getting Jesse Baker to ground out, ending the threat.

In the bottom of the second, Tulane (11-10) put together four hits to score their two runs.

Potkay got things started with a double to center field. He advanced to third when fellow senior Garrett Cannizaro singled. Junior Andrew Garner then added to his RBI total — bringing his number to 16 on the season — on a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Potkay from third and advancing Cannizaro to second.

Briggs Barrios followed with a single up the middle, bringing Cannizaro home for the second run of the inning. Freshman Richard Carthon singled to left-center, but both runners were left stranded.

From there, Byo cruised until the seventh inning, retiring eight straight batters at one point. In the seventh, however, he allowed a single to Garza up the middle, and Garza advanced to second base when Baker reached on an error. Riley Good brought Garza home on a single to right field, and Baker made it all the way to third.

Boudreaux was able to make a diving catch in center field for the final out of the inning, stranding the tying run at third.

Tulane collected two more hits during the game — a single by Carthon in the seventh and a single by junior Bowen Woodson in the eighth — but neither made it past first, as Carthon was caught stealing second, and Woodson was put out on a fielder’s choice.

After Byo’s afternoon was finished, Tulane turned to Gibaut, who earned his third save of the season.

“Fortunately, we had a great pitching performance from Alex Byo, and then Ian Gibaut was great in relief, or we’d be suffering another (loss),” Jones said.

UTSA pitcher Brock Hartson (2-2) went the distance, throwing eight innings and allowing eight hits.

The Green Wave will send senior left-hander David Napoli to the mound for the series finale at 1 p.m. Sunday. UTSA will counter with freshman left-hander Nolan Trabanino.