ORLANDO, Fla. — Senior right-hander Alex Byo pitched his second career complete game and coach Rick Jones notched his 800th win at Tulane as the Green Wave cruised past UCF 8-1 at Jay Bergman Field on Friday night.
Byo (4-4) had to go up against one of Conference USA’s top pitchers in Ben Lively, but the Parkview Baptrist graduate outlasted Lively — thanks in part to the Tulane offense, which collected 14 hits.
Tulane (26-24, 9-10) had not recorded 14 or more hits in a nine-inning contest since it defeated Missouri State on Feb. 18 in the third game of the season.
“Alex was just outstanding,” Jones said. “He had all three of his pitches.”
Filling in for injured ace Tony Rizzotti, Byo allowed five hits and one walk against UCF (27-23, 11-8).
Lively (6-4) was plastered by Tulane early, as the Green Wave hitters notched 11 base hits.
“It’s so much easier to pitch when you have a seven-run lead,” Byo said. “Our offense is rolling. I’m happier for those guys that everything seems to be starting to click at the end of the season.”
Tulane took an early lead in the top of the second, as Andrew Garner came home to score from third on a double-play ball. With two outs, Brennan Middleton doubled to left field after UCF’s Erik Barber slipped on the wet field instead of coming up with the catch. Bowen Woodson notched a single into center field that scored Middleton from second for a quick 2-0 lead.
Richard Carthon doubled to the left-field wall to lead off the top of the third, and Garrett Cannizaro homered over the left-field wall.
It was Tulane’s first home run in Conference USA game this season, and it gave the Greenies a 4-0 lead.
Tulane’s offense exploded in the top of the fifth, as Cannizaro singled and Garner doubled to put runners at second and third. Sean Potkay hit a sacrifice fly to dead center field to score Garner and bring Cannizaro to third. With two outs, senior Brandon Boudreaux ripped a pitch down the right field line for a stand-up triple. Middleton brought him home on a single to give Tulane a 7-1 lead.