NEW ORLEANS — Tulane senior Blake Crohan made sure Wednesday wouldn’t be remembered as a another baseball game in which opportunities slipped away.
Instead, the senior ripped a 10th-inning single into center field to complete a comeback and earn the Green Wave a 3-2 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday night at Turchin Stadium.
Tim Yandel walked to start the 10th inning and advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. Richard Carthon’s groundout to shortstop allowed Yandel to advance to third, and Bowen Woodson followed with a walk. Brennan Middleton then popped out on a bunt attempt, setting up Crohan’s big hit.
“After Middleton popped up the bunt, you needed a two-out hit there,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “It was something we desperately needed. Fortunately, we got it.”
It was Tulane’s second late-innings clutch hit, helping the Green Wave overcoming a difficult night at the plate when it counted most. Although the Wave compiled eight hits and walked eight times against four Lions pitchers, it didn’t post a single multi-run frame.
Tulane (10-9) stranded 11 runners through the first nine innings before breaking through. Instead, the Green Wave relied on a trio of pitchers — Emerson Gibbs, Daniel Rankin, and Andrew Garner — who allowed just six hits and walked just two Lions.
“You can’t discount how Gibbs and Rankin and then Garner at the end pitched,” Jones said. “Two freshman gave us a good performance tonight, and Andrew did a great job shutting it down in the 10th.”
After eight innings of watching Tulane’s run-scoring opportunities fall by the wayside, Garner made sure another chance didn’t pass the Green Wave by. Just two innings after striking out with the potential game-tying run on third base, Garner poked an 0-2 pitch through SLU’s drawn-in infield to score Middleton and send the game into extra innings.
It allowed Tulane to split the midweek series with the Lions (11-6) .
Tulane scratched out the first run of the game in the third inning, taking advantage of Richard Carthon’s leadoff double by successfully converting a fielder’s choice before Middleton’s sacrifice fly to the left field wall put Tulane on top 1-0.
The Green Wave followed the initial run by loading the bases, but Lions’ starter Kyle Keller was able to wiggle out of the jam by prompting Garrett Cannizaro to flyout. Tulane’s struggles driving runners in didn’t start or stop there.
In the fifth, Yandel struck out with the bases loaded, capping a four-inning stretch in which Tulane stranded nine runners, including six in scoring position.
It also helped supply SLU with a jolt of momentum in the sixth with Tulane’s defense providing the assist, when Woodson’s bobble and throwing error allowed Harry Slade to score from first base to tie the score. Jesse Buratt then capitalized, putting the Lions in front by lacing a double down the left-field line and scoring Jameson Fisher all the way from first.
The Lions then went right back to their escape act, squirming out of the seventh despite walking Crohan and throwing a pair of wild pitches to start the inning. Lions reliever Dylan Hills then got Garner to strike out before inducing Sean Potkay and Cannizaro into shallow flyouts.
While visible frustration enveloped the Green Wave dugout, it didn’t allow the bats fade away.
“We had less than stellar at-bats in key situations,” Jones said. “It was a game that could’ve gotten away from us.”