Because of the timing in the season, the Tulane-UNO baseball rivalry on Tuesday night turned into nothing more than a glorified exhibition.
With both teams saving their relevant arms for more important conference games down the line, the Green Wave and Privateers combined to use 15 pitchers, many of whom had seldom taken the mound.
Tulane (25-28) won 8-6 because it used two of its regular midweek guys for longer stints than UNO (25-26-1), which hued closely to is pregame plan of one pitcher per inning.
UNO, which has to beat Northwestern State in a series starting Thursday to have any hope of qualifying for next week’s Southland Conference tournament, trotted out three consecutive pitchers early who had made eight or fewer appearances for the year.
“For us, this one’s a wash,” UNO coach Blake Dean said. “We don’t think about it anymore because we have a huge weekend coming up, and that’s what matters the most to us.”
Tulane freshman starter Keagan Gillies, making his 22nd appearance, threw three no-hit innings as the Wave went ahead 5-0. After UNO tied it with five runs in the fourth, Hunter Williams and Hunter Hope hit solo shots to put Tulane ahead for good.
“Keagan did a good job of coming out and stabilizing that thing for us, which is good,” Tulane coach Travis Jewett said. “He had an attack going to his game, and we needed that.”
UNO closed the deficit to 7-6, but the Wave held on by pitching Brandon Issa (22nd appearance) in the seventh and eighth before turning to closer Christian Colletti in the ninth, getting an insurance run on an RBI single by Williams in the eighth.
Williams, who went 4-for-4 with a walk on Sunday against Houston, extended his streak of reaching base to eight games with two walks and his massive homer, which bounced high off the screen in straightaway center field.
“It was a fastball a little bit up and out, and I just got the hands extended, took a simple swing and found the barrel,” he said. “It’s definitely feels good when you’re up there and seeing the ball pretty well.”
Williams had his 26th multi-hit game of the year.
UNO did most of its damage right after Gillies left. Tulane reliever Jack Hogan, who entered with a 13.50 ERA in 12 innings, failed to retire any of the five batters he faced. Owen Magee and Hezekiah Randolph walked and Dakota Dean was hit by a pitch, loading the bases before Tristan Clarke doubled in two runs. Hogan left, and UNO nine-hole hitter Orynn Veillon cracked a tying two-run home run off Ted Andrews for his team-best 10th homer of the year.
Hope’s home run — a rare opposite-field shot to right for him — was his 11th and tied Jarret DeHart for the team lead in the final home game for Tulane’s seniors and graduating juniors.
“Offensively they did a good job,” Jewett said. “It was good. That’s two games in a row now we stoned some balls and scored some runs, and that’s what we’re going to have to do moving forward.”
UNO, which beat Tulane 9-5 at Maestri Field, missed a chance for its first season sweep of the Wave since 1990.
The game contained some controversial calls. Tulane’s Lex Kaplan was seemingly robbed of a double down the left field line with the bases loaded in the second inning when it was called foul. Replays showed the ball landed about a foot fair.
Replays appeared to show Clarke’s double in the fourth actually was a grand slam, clearing the left field wall before bouncing back into play. It was ruled a double, changed briefly to a home run and then reversed to a double again.
Andrews (1-2) picked up his first victory for Tulane, and Colletti earned his ninth save.
Grant Baker (0-2) took the loss.
Tulane plays at Memphis on Thursday to start its last conference series, but Jewett said his biggest concern was setting up his pitching for the AAC tournament, which begins next Tuesday in Clearwater, Florida.