NEW ORLEANS — Tulane’s baseball team loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out Saturday against High Point, but the Green Wave brought home only one run.
They needed two more to tie the score. But High Point got back-to-back strikeouts to clinch a 4-2 victory at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane (8-8) collected only two hits Saturday, but put the winning run on base in the bottom of the ninth when junior Andrew Garner, senior Blake Crohan and freshman Tim Yandel walked consecutively with one out.
Tucker Oakley walked on four straight pitches, bringing Garner home from third to give the Green Wave its second run.
But the Panthers (7-8) prevailed when relief pitcher Malcolm Clapsaddle struck out junior Bowen Woodson and Brennan Middleton.
Tulane committed two errors that led to three High Point runs, wasting a solid effort from senior pitcher Alex Byo (1-2).
The Baton Rouge native pitched his first career complete game, striking out four and walking one. Of the four runs scored by the Panthers on the day, only one was earned.
“I am very disappointed,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “Alex Byo pitched certainly well enough to win the ballgame. He didn’t have his best stuff early on, but he certainly pitched well enough to win the game. We have to win with pitching and defense on most days, and we were very sloppy on defense today, and that cost us badly.”
Despite the subpar of hitting and fielding, the Greenies scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second.
Sean Potkay singled to left field, advanced to second on a groundout by Garner and moved to third on a single by Crohan.
He scored when Yandel grounded out to third base, giving Tulane the lead.
However, the Panthers responded with a two-run third. After Byo hit Panthers second baseman Kyle Brandenburg, shortstop Willie Medina singled — but both runners advanced an extra base on an error by Woodson, who was covering first base on the short hit by Medina.
Devin Bujnovsky brought Brandenburg home on a sacrifice fly that tied the game at 1. The next batter, Josh Spano, brought Medina home on another sacrifice fly that gave High Point a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers added another run in the fourth when Sean Wilson reached on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Wilson stole second base, then scored on a single by Adam Barry.
Just one inning later, High Point scored its fourth and final run after a critical Tulane throwing error.
Medina led off with a single and advanced all the way to third on an errant pickoff attempt from Byo.
Bujnovsky brought Medina home on a single up the middle.
High Point starter Sean Townsley (2-0) pitched eight innings, striking out five and walking three.
Jaime Schultz came on to pitch the ninth, but gave way to Joe Goodman — who walked three straight batters — and Clapsaddle, who earned his first save of the season.
“Give High Point credit,” Jones said. “They played very well. They out hit us and they played errorless baseball.”
Middleton finished the game going 0-for-5, ending his 14-game hitting streak. Saturday marked the first game he did not reach base all season.
The teams conclude their series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
After Sunday’s game, Tulane players will shave their heads to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. The baseball team has been raising money for the Vs. Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving kids lives by asking athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts.
The money raised by Tulane’s athletes will be split in half, with one half going to fund research at the national level and the other half going to a local childhood cancer hospital.
The organization was founded by Chase Jones, nephew of Tulane’s skipper, and a pediatric cancer survivor.