RUSTON — Tulane’s offense had one of its better nights in recent memory, thanks in large part to back-to-back home runs off the bats of Andrew Garner and Garrett Deschamp, and sophomore pitcher Emerson Gibbs pitched masterfully in relief as the Green Wave rallied for a 12-8 victory in their Conference USA opener against Louisiana Tech.
Tulane (5-0) scored two runs in the top of the first inning but fell behind as Louisiana Tech (1-3) swung the bats well early, scoring four times in the first and two times in the second.
But the Green Wave rallied for six runs in the top of the fifth to pull ahead for good.
Down 6-4 heading into the fifth inning, the Tulane bats got to former freshman All-American Phil Maton. Freshman catcher Jake Rogers reached on an error and sophomore left fielder Richard Carthon walked on four straight pitches.
Freshman shortstop Stephen Alemais then reached on an error that scored Rogers and Carthon.
Garner then blasted his first home run of the season over the left-center wall, and Deschamp followed with his first homer in a Tulane uniform. The third error of the inning allowed Tulane freshman Lex Kaplan to reach base, and after senior first baseman Bowen Woodson singled to move Kaplan to third, Kaplan came home on an RBI double from freshman Hunter Hope.
“We had some really good two-strike at-bats, and we stretched the lead,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “It’s just one game, but it’s good to see us battle back. In this ballpark, I don’t think a lead is safe.”
Gibbs (1-0) came on in the bottom of the fifth and pitched his best game as a member of the Tulane pitching staff. Gibbs went 5.0 innings in relief while striking out four for the first victory of his career, just one week after earning his first career save.
“Emerson came in and gave us one of the greatest performances,” Jones said. “It’s not easy to pitch in this ballpark. The ball jumps out of here. Emerson kept the ball down and mixed his pitches and then started playing really well defensively.”
The win allowed the Green Wave to move to 5-0 to start a season for the first time since the 2008 campaign, the last year Tulane made an NCAA Regional.
Tulane starter J.P. France looked to follow last week’s magical performance with another, but the first inning for the freshman from Marrero was tough, as his defense committed two errors while four runs crossed the plate.
France then allowed another two runs in the bottom of the second before settling down and pitching through the next two frames relatively unscathed.
France struck out three while allowing five earned runs and issuing no walks in four innings.
Carthon scored four times on the night, making him the first Tulane player to score four runs in one contest since Brandon Boudreaux did so at UAB on April 15, 2012.
The Green Wave return to Pat Patterson Park at 3 p.m. Saturday.