HAMMOND — For the second straight game, Tulane let a late lead slip away. Only this time, the Green Wave had time to recover.
Richard Carthon’s two-out, two-strike, seeing-eye RBI single right up the middle in the ninth inning against Southeastern Louisiana tied the score Wednesday night, and Lex Kaplan hit a fly ball that bounced just inside the left-field line to score Carthon with the go-ahead run as Tulane beat Southeastern Louisiana 5-4 at Alumni Field.
The Lions (4-1), who had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take the lead, failed to score an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth after loading the bases with no outs. Tulane reliever Ian Gibaut (1-1) got a strikeout and a 5-2-3 double play to get out of the jam, and Dan Rankin stranded a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth to earn the save.
It was quite a turnaround for Gibaut and the Green Wave (3-1).
On Sunday, Gibaut allowed a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth as Tulane lost to Pepperdine 2-1.
Tulane’s rally marked the second huge reversal on a frigid night in Hammond.
Trailing 3-0 in the seventh inning, Southeastern tied the score on a two-out, three-run triple by Kyle Cedotal that glanced off the glove of Carthon in left field when he appeared to have a good chance to snag it. Daniel Midyett then singled in the go-ahead run as the Lions went ahead.
Tulane’s troubles came out of nowhere. Reliever Jordan Gross retried the first two batters in the seventh before giving up a single and walking consecutive batters to load the bases.
Eric Steel replaced him and promptly gave up the deep fly ball that eluded Carthon’s glove and rolled to the wall. Carthon and center fielder Grant Brown came close to colliding but just missed each other.
The Wave felt the pain anyway, until it went away in the ninth.
Earlier, Tulane was the team that capitalized on its opportunities while Southeastern squandered its chances.
With the exception of one hitter in one at-bat, the Wave appeared helpless against awkward SLU left-hander Domenick Carlini.
Carlini struck out 11 through five innings, and most of the swings were not close.
He paid for his lone mistake, though. Hunter Hope blasted a mammoth first-inning home run to right-center that broke the windshield of a car in the parking lot.
It was Hope’s second homer of the year and the fourth for Tulane through four games. The Wave hit 10 in all of 2014.
Tulane’s Patrick Duester was not nearly as dominant in a battle of junior-college transfers making their first starts, but SLU ran itself out of multiple chances in the middle innings.
Carson Crites tried to steal home in the fourth, but catcher Jake Rogers tagged him out easily to end the inning. It was the second of two outs on the basepaths in the inning for the Lions. Midyett was caught stealing after getting hit by a pitch to lead off.
A poor sacrifice attempt hurt Southeastern in the fifth, with Brett Hoffman getting cut down at second base. Nico Cuccia then got thrown out trying to steal third.
Duester held the Lions scoreless in five innings, allowing five hits and striking out three.