NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Tulane University baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat in the series finale against No. 5-ranked Mississippi State Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
High drama ensued again as Tulane took the lead into the bottom half of the ninth inning for the third consecutive game, but for the second straight day, the Green Wave were unable to hold on to the lead, as the Bulldogs captured the win in walk-off fashion.
“We came here with the intent to win and we had the lead in the ninth inning in all three games,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “To come out of here with just one of those games is pretty disappointing there’s no doubt about it. We need to figure out how to finalize these type of games.”
With the loss, Tulane drops to 3-4 on the year.
Tulane senior reliever Keagan Gillies needed just one more strike to close out the game, but MSU’s Tanner Allen ripped a three-two pitch into centerfield to secure the win for the Bulldogs.
In the top half of the ninth, Tulane also was down to its last out of the game, but junior catcher Luis Aviles gave the Green Wave a 4-3 lead, as he drilled a two-run home run over the left field wall. Aviles’ home run was his second of the year.
“We are a gritty bunch,” Aviles said. “Coach Jewett does a really good job with us in keeping our heads in the game at all times. We are never out of a game, even last weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette. The grit that we have is second to none.”
Hitting out of the cleanup spot, Aviles finished the game by going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI. He also added a double.
“I’m super proud of our guys with how we handled things whether we were up or they were up, it didn’t matter, we kept a level head and we played our hearts out for sure,” Aviles said.
As a team, Tulane finished the game with 12 hits, marking the second straight game Tulane finished with 10-or-more hits. The Green Wave’s 12 hits were their second-most on the year.
Sophomore Collin Burns led the Green Wave with three hits, as he extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Redshirt junior Frankie Niemann and redshirt sophomore Walker Burchfield also chipped in with a pair of hits.
Niemann’s first hit of the afternoon came in the fourth inning when he collected his first home run of the year which gave Tulane a 2-0 lead.
Chase Engelhard also joined in on the hit party as he collected his team-leading third home run of the year. The Tulane freshman’s homer came in the second inning and gave the Green Wave an early 1-0 lead. All eight of Engelhard’s hits this season have gone for extra bases.
Redshirt sophomore Jack Aldrich got the start for the Green Wave. He worked 5.1 innings, scattered four hits, allowed just two earned runs and struck out seven, but did not figure into the decision.
Tulane also got strong relief efforts from Keaton Knueppel, David Bates, Justin Campbell and Zach DeVito, as they combined to hold Mississippi State to one hit and no runs over 2.2 innings of work.
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