Tulane Sports Information
THIBODAUX, La. – Tulane baseball got a gutsy, career-best performance from redshirt-senior righty Tyler Mapes, and some late offense allowed the Green Wave to get past in-state foe Nicholls State, 1-0, on Tuesday evening at Ray E. Didier Field in Thibodaux, La.
Tulane (7-1) managed to put the bat on the ball six times during the course of the game, but didn't seem to do so when it was most needed – with runners in scoring position – until the top of the eighth inning against Nicholls State (3-5). In that frame, freshman catcher Jake Rogers led off with a double, and he came around to score when sophomore outfielder Richard Carthon bunted him to third. An error on the Nicholls State infield not only allowed Carthon to reach and move to second, but it gave Rogers the chance to stroll home to give Tulane the game's lone run.
But the real story was Mapes' (2-0) performance. Just 364 days after tearing his elbow on the very same mound at Ray E. Didier Field, the Plano, Texas native came out and fanned seven batters while allowing just one hit and no walks in 7.0 innings of work.
"That was what we had to have," said Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones of Mapes' outing. "Nicholls is a good club, and they will win a lot of games. They have good arms, and they used five of them against us tonight. They will handle the ball well, and the only way we win tonight is for Tyler to have gone out and have the performance that he had."
Mapes retired the first 11 batters of the contest before hitting Keith Cormier on the arm in the bottom of the third to allow the first Nicholls baserunner. An infield error allowed Marc Frazier to reach and move Cormier to third, but Mapes struck Tyler Duplantis out looking on the outside corner of the dish.
Tulane threatened to put a run on the board in the top of the fifth, as freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais singled and moved to second on a walk by freshman catcher Jake Rogers. A single into left field by Carthon sent Alemais home, but he was thrown out at the dish by Charles Morton in left field to keep the game scoreless.
Nicholls State notched their first hit to leadoff the bottom of the fifth as Morton singled right up the middle. But he was left stranded as Mapes posted a strikeout, groundout and flyout in order to get out of the inning.
Freshman third baseman Hunter Hope led off the top of the seventh with a line drive into right field, and pinch hitter Nick DiMaggio sacrificed him to second on a bunt. However, Hope stayed at second, as Tulane notched back-to-back outs to leave the freshman from Jupiter, Fla., on the basepaths.
Fortunately, Mapes matched what it took five Nicholls State pitchers to do, as he held the Colonels scoreless through seven innings.
Sophomore righty Dan Rankin came on in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a one-out single to Leo Vargas for Nicholls' first baserunner since the bottom of the fifth. Vargas was out at second on a fielder's choice during the next at-bat, and Rogers threw out pinch runner Darius Knight attempting to steal second, keeping Nicholls – one of the better base stealing teams in the country so far in 2014 – from stealing their only bag of the game.
"They didn't get many guys on base, but when they did try to run, Jake threw him out by a bunch," mentioned Jones. "That was a huge out for us to get."
Senior Andrew Garner came on in the bottom of the ninth to make his first pitching appearance of the season. He struck out the first two batters before getting a line drive out for the final out of the game, and his first save of the year.
"Dan Rankin had a solid eighth, and Andrew Garner had a real, real good outing in the ninth," added Jones.
McDonald (0-1) was credited with the loss for Nicholls State. Lefty Mike Hanchar got the start for the Colonels, pitching 4.0 innings and striking out three while walking two and allowing no hits.
Carthon led the Green Wave at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two walks. Junior John Gandolfo, Hope, Alemais and Rogers all posted hits, as well. True freshman Hunter Williams made his first collegiate start, and junior Tyler Wilson made his first start for the Green Wave.
The Green Wave will return home to Greer Field at Turchin Stadium over the weekend for a three-game series against Sacred Heart, who has yet to play a game this season. First pitch for Friday, Feb. 28 is set for 6:30pm CT, while Saturday's contest will begin at 2pm CT. The series finale will be on Sunday, March 2 at 1pm CT.
Friday and Sunday's contest will be broadcast on the home of Tulane baseball for the 2014 season, 88.3 FM WRBH. Live audio and video will be available for all three contests through the All-Access pass at TulaneGreenWave.com.