Tulane’s baseball team has been forced to find ways to win games this season, but one thing that it has been able to depend on almost universally has been its starting pitching.
That wasn’t the case Sunday.
Tulane’s starters came into the game against Xavier with a 1.46 ERA through 110.2 innings, but the Green Wave’s starter, Tim Yandel, only lasted one inning before coach David Pierce had to turn to his bullpen.
But as it has done all season, Tulane overcame the unexpected circumstances and posted a 10-3 win, completing a three-game sweep at Turchin Stadium.
“They got three runs without even getting a hit,” Pierce said. “We had a rough start, but our guys just continued to play.”
Sunday starter Yandel has been solid on the mound for the Green Wave (15-5) all year, but he struggled mightily this time.
Yandel — who had a pinch-hit double in the 10th inning to win Friday’s game — couldn’t find the plate to start the game and walked the first three batters he faced. The junior threw a wild pitch against the next batter, allowing the Musketeers (4-14) to score their first run.
After Xavier’s Brian Bruening and Andre Jernigan added sacrifice hits, the Musketeers ended the first inning with as many runs as they scored in the first two games of the series.
Yandel found a way to get out of the inning, but after hitting the first batter he faced to open the second, he was pulled for right-hander Alex Massey.
Yandel, a junior, had allowed just two runs in his first 26.1 innings.
“I think he was really tentative,” Pierce said. “He was trying to place it in there, and he really looked like he was tight.”
Massey, who was recently replaced in the weekend rotation by Emerson Gibbs, came in and pitched valiantly.
The senior, who registered his first win, pitched 6.2 innings, allowing one hit and no runs and striking out five before exiting in the eighth.
“I felt good. We had a good week of preparation, and I had all three of my pitches going,” Massey said. “I just threw my game, and the defense was there to back me up.”
Third baseman Hunter Hope finally got the Green Wave on the board in the fourth with an inning-opening solo home run that sailed over the left-field wall. Tulane got two more runners on base but was unable to bring either home.
In the next inning, Tulane’s offense got going again with back-to-back singles by Richard Carthon and Stephen Alemais, and then the Musketeers intentionally walked Hope to load the bases.
Designated hitter Hunter Williams drilled a single up the middle, bringing in two and tying the score at 3. Two batters later, John Gandolfo hit an infield single that brought in another run and gave Tulane a 4-3 lead heading into the sixth.
“We have (struggled to score) and that’s been pretty obvious,” Pierce said. “To really execute the short game the way we did really opens things up for guys.”
After adding a run in the seventh inning, Tulane continued its strong play at the plate with a five-run eighth to put the Musketeers away.
Alemais kicked off the scoring in the eighth with a bases-loaded walk, and Garrett Deschamp followed with a sacrifice fly to bring in another run. After a Hope pop out, Williams knocked in another run with a single to give Tulane an 8-3 lead.
Later in the inning, Gandolfo gave Tulane its second run of the inning from a bases-loaded walk, and Jake Willsey brought home another run after being hit by a pitch to give Tulane the deciding margin.
The Green Wave’s offensive outburst was especially welcome after its output, averaging only 2.2 runs in their previous six outings.
“We’re just having good at-bats and going up there with an idea of what we need to do, and it’s working out for us,” said outfielder Lex Kaplan, who was 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Tulane returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against visiting Southeastern Louisiana.