Tulane third baseman Hunter Hope did not have a whole lot to show for his three hits in the opener of a doubleheader Saturday.
He took care of that issue with four huge ones in the second game, helping the Green Wave finish another 3-0 weekend at Turchin Stadium.
Hope singled and scored in the third inning, doubled and scored in the fourth, drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth and launched a mammoth three-run homer to the right of the scoreboard in the seventh as Tulane beat Illinois State 9-3.
Hope, who entered the day hitting .280, raised his batting average a whopping 57 points to .337 by going 7 for 8. His only out was a screaming line drive right at Illinois State left fielder Daniel Dwyer.
“I’ve never had a day like this,” Hope said. “I’m seeing the ball really well. Really well.”
The home run — his team-high seventh of the year — gave Tulane (17-7) its first comfortable lead in the doubleheader. The Wave, which rallied to win the first game 3-2 in 12 innings, also trailed 2-0 in the finale before Hope helped turn it around.
Tulane put up three runs in five innings off Illinois State’s David Meade, ending his scoreless streak of 15 innings over three starts, and tattooed his replacements. Hope’s blast off freshman Jeff Lindgren was gone the second it left his bat, capping a four-game week with nine hits, seven runs and six RBIs.
“This is one of those days we all dream of,” coach David Pierce said. “He had a great weekend.”
Alex Massey (3-2) earned the victory, giving up three runs in seven innings as Tulane improved to 13-1 at Turchin Stadium.
“We’re very comfortable at home,” Pierce said. “Our pitchers like throwing here, and we’re pretty comfortable playing defense here. It’s a great environment, and the kids are just playing well here.”
Tulane brought out the brooms even if wanted to sweep some of its mistakes under the rug in the first game, which lasted 3 hours, 20 minutes.
After blowing out Illinois State (7-16) in Friday’s opener, the Green Wave had to work hard until the end, particularly after it failed to score with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth. Alemais hit a seeing-eye single to the left side with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, and Richard Carthon raced around to score from second, sliding home before catcher Danny Jackson applied the tag.
“It was a curve ball down, and I just tried to put my bat on the ball and get it in play any way I could,” Alemais said. “I know Richard’s fast at second, so I was just trying to get the ball on the ground.”
Tulane won its 10th extra-inning game in its last 11 tries and its fifth out of six under Pierce, although this one probably should have ended earlier.
Alemais was thrown out at third base for a double play in the first inning when he inexplicably broke for the bag after Illinois State shortstop Owen Miller checked on him and threw to first.
With the bases loaded and no outs in 2-2 game in the bottom of the ninth, pinch runner Grant Brown decided not to tag up on a sinking line drive that forced left fielder Daniel Dwyer to dive for the catch. When the next batter, Jake Willsey, flew out to shallow left field, Brown tagged and was thrown out easily.
Tulane starting pitcher Emerson Gibbs allowed five hits in six innings but bunched them all in a row at the end of the fourth and the start of the fifth as Illinois State took a 2-0 lead.
Reliever Trevor Simms entered at the start of the 10th and walked the only two batters he faced.
Dan Rankin (2-1) saved the day, striking out three straight after replacing Simms and notching two more Ks in the 11th to set a career high on his way to a three-inning victory.
“I’m usually a one- or two-inning guy, but I was feeling good,” Rankin said. “I wanted to get back out there, and coach believed in me enough to send me back out there.”
Tulane tied the score at 2 in the seventh on three straight two-out hits. The big blow was Willsey’s two-run double down the left-field line. Carthon slid home to beat the tag, foreshadowing the exciting finish.
Jeremy Montalbano struck out five through the eighth and the ninth to keep it even in his fourth appearance. Starter Emerson Gibbs yielded two runs in six innings.