OXFORD, Miss. — Unable to solve Boston College ace Justin Dunn, Tulane will be two-and-done at the Oxford regional if it does not start swinging better.
Striking out at least once every inning, the Green Wave went quietly into the losers’ bracket on Friday afternoon at Swayze Field, losing 7-2.
Tulane (39-20)will face the winner of the late game between No. 1 seed and Ole Miss or No. 4 seed Utah at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“He (Dunn) had his pitches going,” Tulane first baseman Hunter Williams said. “He was throwing good off-speed and had a great fastball too. He was just able to keep us off balance at the plate. We swung at pitches we shouldn’t have. We didn’t square up on as many balls as we needed to and didn’t really find a way to get on base.”
The Wave, which entered with a .225 batting average in its last 10 games, managed only two singles through the first five innings off Dunn, a projected first-round pick in the Major League draft with a fastball in the mid-90s and a solid breaking ball. After finally getting two runs in the sixth, Tulane went out in order the rest of the way, with Bobby Skogsbergh recording the last six outs for his third save in relief of Dunn (4-1).
Catcher Jake Rogers and third basemen Hunter Hope each whiffed three times, part of 13 strikeouts that raised the Wave’s school-record total to 497. Hope has struck out a team-record 82 times.
“It’s always a concern,” coach David Pierce said. “We’ve lived and died on the long ball and just couldn’t come up with any today. You’d like to see us put the ball in play better with two strikes, but it’s what we’ve been all year.”
Boston College (32-20) made contact at the plate. At one point, second baseman Jake Palomaki fouled off nine pitches from Tulane starter Emerson Gibbs before drawing a walk. The Eagles also capitalized on all of their scoring opportunities.
Right fielder Donovan Casey, back for the first time since getting hurt in early April, blasted a double off the top of the wall in left field to start the third. Gibbs walked the next batter, and both scored after a pair of groundouts and a wild pitch.
The Eagles added two more runs in the top of the sixth. Right fielder Lex Kaplan ran down a fly ball with one out but had it roll out of his glove for a two-base error as he tried to reach for it with his left hand. Pierce argued the close call, but replays showed the ball never appeared to settle in Kaplan’s glove.
After another hit and a stolen base, Nick Sciortino had a two-RBI single off Gibbs (6-4), who allowed five runs despite giving up only six hits and walking two in seven innings.
“We did not play very clean,” Pierce said. “It really affected us. We gave up a double and then we had too many wild pitches and passed balls, and the play in right field cost us two more runs.”
Tulane’s only real offense came in the sixth as Dunn, a former reliever, started to tire. Stephen Alemais and Jake Rogers led off with back-to-back singles, and Williams drove them in with a two-out triple that glanced off left fielder Logan Hoggarth’s glove just in front of the wall.
Dunn then struck out Kaplan, ending the Wave’s last threat.
In contrast, Boston College left no one on base through six innings.
“I felt good,” Gibbs said. “You have to credit Boston College. They made me throw the ball over the plate. They were laying off my curveballs.”
The Eagles put the game away with a run in the eighth on a squeeze bunt and two more in the ninth on a bases-loaded grounder that did not get past pitcher Patrick Duester. His throw was low and bounced off Williams’ glove as the runner on second rounded third and scored easily.
Tulane, which has not gone 0-2 in a regional since 1987, needs to avoid those mistakes on Saturday.
“We have to go out and pitch, play defense and be clean,” said Pierce, who added he had not decided on a starting pitcher. “We can’t worry about the big picture.”
A revival at the plate would help even more. Tulane has scored two or fewer runs in six of its last 12 games.
“Every day is different,” Williams said. “We have to find a way to get on base and find a way to get them in. If we can do that, slow it down and take it one pitch at a time, we’ll be all right.”