Tulane torpedoes Pirates
From staff and electronic reports
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HOUSTON — Tulane held on for a 6-5 baseball win over
East Carolina on Friday, effectively ending the Pirates' chances of winning
the Conference USA Tournament at Rice's Reckling Park.
ECU (30-26) had runners at first and third with two out
in the top of the ninth when Green Wave freshman Ian Gibaut got Ben Fultz to
pop out to second to close the game.
The contest was not without controversy. Drew Reynolds
came home from third with the bases loaded to score the apparent tying run
in the top of the seventh as a fly to right by Fultz was tracked down by
Tulane right fielder Tim Yandel on a diving catch. The Green Wave appealed
that Reynolds had left third too soon and plate umpire Darrin Sealey
signaled an out to end the frame for the Pirates.
Yandel would not have had a play on Reynolds. C-USA
television coverage did not have the sequence on tape to confirm the call.
The lower-seeded Green Wave was designated the home
team, according to tournament regulations.
ECU had already plated two runs to pull within 5-4 in
the seventh. Luke Lowery led off the inning with a triple to right and
scored on a double to left by Chris Gosik. The Wave retired Gosik as he
tried to get to third on a grounder to short by Bryan Bass. Reynolds doubled
before Zach Houchins brought home Bass with a base hit on a high chopper to
third. Chase McDonald's single to right loaded the bases before the play
that culminated with the appeal.
Other than the baserunning episodes in the seventh, the
Pirates hindered their cause by hitting five Tulane batters and uncorking a
pair of wild pitches.
"There were some things that transpired in the course
of that game that we could have controlled," said ECU coach Billy Godwin.
"Some of those we didn’t really do a very good job of that. I want to
congratulate Tulane, they played well. It’s unfortunate. I told the team
after the game, this time of year, if you’re fortunate to get into a
tournament like this and you’re playing well at the end of the year. I just
prayed that they played well and we haven’t played well in two days.”
The third-seeded Pirates
dropped their tournament opener to Houston, 9-4, on
Tulane's Alex Byo (6-4) went eight and one-third
innings. He allowed 12 hits and five runs before Gibaut came on for his 12th
ECU took a 2-1 lead in the third inning as a run scored
on a fielder's choice by Houchins and Fultz had an RBI single.
Tulane (29-28) came back with a pair of runs in the
bottom of the inning and was able to stay in front the rest of the way.
ECU redshirt freshman David Lucroy (4-2) absorbed the
loss, working two and one-third innings Brett Mabry provided five and
one-third innings in relief. Reynolds recorded a strikeout to end the eighth
in his 27th appearance of the season.
Lowery led the Pirates offensively with three hits.
Getting two hits each for ECU were Bass, Reynolds, Houchins and McDonald.
The Pirates play Southern Miss at 8 on Saturday night.
“We talk about character and pride in our program all
the time with our players, and that’s what we’re playing for right now,"
Godwin said. "We’re going to get a chance to show what we’re about, and I’m
fully in on what they’re about. We're going to get a chance to play for