Freshman Ethan Groff earned his first collegiate hit with a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Tulane baseball team a lead it would not relinquish as the Green Wave earned a sweep of Florida Gulf Coast with a 6-1 victory Sunday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Tulane (3-0) produced just six hits in the game, but it was enough to get the job done as the team struck first and last to get past the one run the Eagles (0-3) managed over the course of the game to earn an opening-series sweep for the second consecutive season.
“The kids showed up again today ready to rock and roll, and you get a Sunday starter like Donovan Benoit can certainly give you a good feeling,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We jumped off early, I think that helped. We were able to hang in there with our pitching, that’s really what kept it there. Then Groff gets the one big swing for three runs and that’s the difference in the game.”
Benoit (1-0) led a pitching staff that held FGCU to just three hits in the game, as the junior earned the win allowing a run on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Luke Jannetta gave up the only other hit, but did so in his first Tulane outing in two innings of work with a strikeout.
Six different Tulane players connected for hits in the win, led by Groff who had three RBI and a run scored thanks to his home run.
Eagles starter Ronaldo Gallo (0-1) lasted just 3.1 innings and suffered the loss after allowing four earned runs on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts for FGCU.
Senior Ty Johnson got hit on the fourth pitch of his at-bat to open the game in the bottom of the first, stealing the first of his two bases on the day to move to second. After a walk to Hudson Haskin, Grant Mathews roped a single to left to score Johnson and give the Wave an early 1-0 lead.
FGCU earned a pair of hits in the top of the fourth to get on the board and tie the game at one. In the bottom half of that same inning, a walk to Mathews and a Trevor Minder plunking put two on for Groff, who was down to his final strike of the at-bat before clearing the fence in left to put Tulane back on top 4-1.
Tulane added its first insurance run in the bottom of the fifth as Haskin came through with a sac fly RBI to plate Johnson and make it a 5-1 game. In the bottom of the eighth, freshman Parker Haskin earned his first hit on an RBI double, bringing in fellow freshman Simon Baumgardt who opened his Tulane register with a single as the lead increased to 6-1.
Tulane opens a week of road games on Wednesday, traveling to Lafayette to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns at 6 p.m. at Russo Park
Tulane sports information contributed to this story.