After his heroics on Saturday, Trevor Minder hit for the cycle which included a three-run home run to put the exclamation point on an offensive barrage as Tulane defeated Middle Tennessee 11-7 to wrap up a series sweep on Sunday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The day belonged to Minder as he reached base all five times he came to the plate on his way to Tulane’s first cycle since 2013.
“To honest I can’t really explain it. I was just up there trying to put together good at bats,” Minder said. Trying to stay simple. I didn’t realize it until somebody told me that I had the opportunity to do it in the last inning. It’s just crazy to me, but the past two days have been wild."
The Green Wave (9-2) managed 12 hits, drew six walks and three hit batters as they piled on eleven runs to outpace MTSU (3-8) for the third consecutive day. Collin Burns tallied three hits in the win, while Luis Aviles drove in three runs for the Green Wave.
“I’m glad he’s on our team, I can say that,” coach Travis Jewett said. “He’s seeing the ball well right now, sometimes you get in those grooves offensively. It probably looks like a basketball to him right now. He’s getting his pitches and putting good swings on it.”
Tulane starter Donovan Benoit lasted three innings, conceding only two hits while allowing four runs and seven walks. Grant Segar (1-0) covered the next two innings without walking a batter and allowing just one run before being relieved to earn the victory. Clifton Slagel (1) earned the save by escaping a jam late to keep the team’s lead intact. He returned for the ninth inning, sending MTSU down in order to clinch the win.
“Coming out the bullpen most days you show up to the yard there’s a chance you’re going to pitch and that’s great. You don’t have to wait six, seven days before your next outing,” Slagel said. “Just showing up every day and having a chance to get out there is great. Just trying to make the most of it, whatever coach tells me to do I’m going to go out there and do my best.”
Fausto Lopez tallied three hits including a double for the visitors, while Nathan Sanders drove in two runs.
Tulane forced a MTSU pitching change in the first inning before making a single out. Four consecutive walks to the top of the order proved to be all for Justin Medlin (1-2), who departed trailing 1-0 and with the bases loaded. Aviles slapped a ground ball to shortstop which could have been a double play, but the ball trickled beyond the first baseman to score Grant Mathews and Minder for a 3-0 first inning lead.
The Green Wave again wasted no time in the second inning. Redshirt senior Luke Glancy led off the inning with a solo home run to left field for his first of the season. Burns singled before advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third on a sacrifice fly. Mathews did enough to bring Burns home, grounding out to second base to make the score 5-0.
Middle Tennessee scratched a two runs back in the third inning after a walk to DJ Wright and a home run that crashed into the batter’s eye in center field off the bat of Brycen Thomas.
Tulane punched back in the bottom of the third inning, as Aviles drove in his second run of the day with a towering home run to left-center field to push the Green Wave to a 6-2 lead.
MTSU fought back once again, plating the next three runs in the game. After two walks to start the fourth inning, Segar relieved Benoit for the Wave. The Blue Raiders earned two singles as the lead shrunk to 6-4. In the top of the fifth inning, catcher Mason Speirs made it 6-5 with a home run to left field.
With the game tightly poised, Minder doubled off the wall in left-center field before Frankie Niemann smashed a single that ricocheted off the second base bag to score Minder for a 7-5 lead.
Tulane finally blew the game open in the sixth inning. Hudson Haskin walked before racing from first to third on a single by Mathews. Minder came to the plate with two hits already to his name and launched a 1-0 pitch over the scoreboard in left field for his second three-run homerun in as many days, putting the Wave ahead 10-5.
In the top of the seventh inning, Jacob Williams made the score 10-6 as he singled to left field to score Nathan Sanders. In the eighth, Nathan Sanders singled past the shift to left field, scoring DJ Wright for a 10-7 score.
Slagel remained in the game for the ninth inning, retiring all three hitters to claim the sweep. Slagel has thrown 11 innings on the season without allowing an earned run and with 14 strikeouts.
Minder led off the bottom of the eighth inning needing the triple to earn the cycle. He launched a high fly ball to the warning track in left center field that hit off the glove of an outfielder before scooting away. Minder flew around the bases, and the dugout erupted as they realized his cycle was complete. Tulane had not hit for the cycle since Andrew Garner on May 11, 2013. He’d come around to score on an Aviles sac fly to make it 11-7.
Tulane takes on the Texas Southern Tigers Tuesday night at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.
Tulane sports information contributed to this story.