Tulane freshman Ross Massey followed in his big brother’s footsteps in a big way on Sunday.
One day after junior Alex Massey threw six innings to help the Green Wave eliminate Ole Miss on Saturday, Ross Massey went eight solid innings to help Tulane eliminate Utah in another elimination game on Sunday.
Massey’s efforts sent Tulane to the championship round, where it fell to Boston College.
“It was just a big-time game by the guy sitting next to me,” Tulane associate head coach Sean Allen said. “He went out there and pitched his heart out and pitched like a fifth-year senior, really. He has been great the entire year.”
Massey, a Catholic High alum, scattered five hits and allowed just one run to shut down a normally potent Utes lineup. He finished with four strikeouts, pushing his season total to 51.
“I felt good,” Massey said. “I just went out there and tried to give my team a chance to win. Early, I was getting behind in the count, so I just wanted to pack the strike zone and give my team a chance to win.”
Massey worked his way out of a pivotal two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning.
“I knew I had to get myself out of that hole and fill up the strike zone,” Massey said. “Obviously, when you get yourself in that hole, you have to kind of take a deep breath and get yourself back out of it.”
Massey, who made the all-tournament team, improved to 10-3.
“We just never got anything going offensively,” Utah coach Bill Kinneberg said. “Their pitcher did a good job of mixing speeds and keeping us off balance. Kudos to him and the Tulane team.”
Three Tulane players were named to the all-tournament team for the Oxford regional.
In addition to Ross Massey, first baseman Hunter Williams and catcher Jake Rogers made the team.
Other players named to the team were second baseman Jake Polomaki (Boston College), third baseman Colby Bortles (Ole Miss), shortstop Johnny Adams (Boston College), outfielders Josh Rose (Utah), Donovan Casey (Boston College) and Kyle Watson (Ole Miss), pitcher Justin Dunn and designated hitter Kellen Marruffo (Utah).
Adams was voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Tulane centerfielder Grant Brown and right fielder Lex Kaplan collided with each other going for a pop fly in the eighth inning of the win against Utah.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a collision that bad,” Allen said. “Lex got a really bad cut on his eye, and Grant’s got a big cut on his ear. But both passed the concussion protocol so far, and I think they’ll both be fine.”
Kaplan started in Sunday’s second game against Boston College.
Brown’s glove came off after the collision, but the ball somehow stayed in it, and he was credited with the putout on the play.
“It was a heck of a catch,” Allen said. “It was unbelievable that he held onto it.”
With Tulane freshman left fielder Grant Witherspoon being ejected in Saturday’s win over Ole Miss, he was forced to serve a one-game suspension in Sunday’s game against Utah.
Tulane coach David Pierce had to reshuffle his lineup.
Jake Rogers, the normal starter at catcher, played in left field and Cameron Burns got the start behind the plate. It was Rogers’ second time playing in the outfield this season. He also played in the outfield in the series against Houston.
It was Burns’ sixth start behind the plate. Burns went 1-for-3 and also drew a walk.
Witherspoon was ejected in the third inning on Saturday after fouling out to the first baseman. He bumped into Ole Miss pitcher David Parkinson as Parkinson covered first base to turn a double play on Jake Rogers. Witherspoon was ejected immediately.
Witherspoon returned to the starting lineup for the Wave’s game on Sunday against Boston College.
Jake Rogers was caught trying to steal second in the seventh inning. It was the first time all season Rogers has been caught stealing. He was 13 for 13 before that. His 13 stolen bases is second on the team, trailing only Stephen Alemais, who stole his 19th base in the third inning against Utah. Rogers was hit by a pitch to reach base before his stolen base attempt. It was his eighth time getting hit by a pitch this season, second most of the season.
The announced attendance for Tulane’s game on Sunday against Utah was 7,751. That was paid attendance. The actual attendance was probably closer to 500.