Tulane powers past Western Kentucky, 6-5

Tulane plays UCF at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Tulane plays UCF at 3 p.m. Sunday.(Tulane Baseball)
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 9:50 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tulane (4-5) snapped its three-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Western Kentucky University (3-5) on Friday night.

“A heck of a win for the boys tonight,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We fought uphill a little bit all night. We knew we were going to be in a fight tonight with WKU. I’m proud of our guys for getting off the mat and finding a way to win one.”

Junior outfielder Ethan Groff crushed a go-ahead home run, his first of the year, to deep left in the bottom of the eighth to give Tulane a 6-5 lead. 

“It was a fastball middle down. I was just trying to get on base because we needed a base runner,” Groff said. “We fought hard and we just needed one more run. I was sitting on a pitch I could drive and I got it. We definitely needed to come out here and get a statement win and that’s what we did.”

Coming off of an eight-inning gem against Mississippi State, Braden Olthoff got the start and tossed 4.2 innings, striking out five and giving up five runs, three earned. 

Sophomore Jake Kates started for Western Kentucky and went five innings, allowing four runs, one earned. The Green Wave started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Jared Hart led off with a double and scored on a Collin Burns grounder.

In the bottom of the fourth and WKU up 4-2, freshman Jacob LaPrairie collected his second career RBI on a sacrifice fly that reduced WKU’s lead to one. 

Burns extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the fifth. He also ripped a triple down the right field line in the seventh before scoring on a Luis Aviles sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5-5.

Junior reliever Clifton Slagel entered the game in the fifth and retired all eight batters he faced, striking out four.

“I thought Slagel changed the momentum of the game,” Jewett said. “We were able to get some shutdown frames there at the end. Baseball is a game of momentum and they kept punching back after we would score, but at the end we were able to win some of those later frames.”

Freshman Zach DeVito came into the game in the ninth and recorded his first career save, shutting down WKU in order.

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