Tulane drops weekend finale to Western Kentucky
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tulane (5-6) fell to Western Kentucky University (4-6) in a back-and-forth 8-7 ballgame on Sunday at Turchin Stadium.
Freshmen Bennett Lee and Jacob LaPrairie had big games at the plate, but the Wave couldn’t find a way to win in a game where they used 11 different pitchers and struggled defensively.
“Today we got exactly what we deserved,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We had the chance to sweep somebody and for us to come out with that sort of effectiveness is disappointing. Our defense has been moving the ball from player to player with efficiency and today we didn’t do that. This was very uncharacteristic from our team in my opinion. We have to get up, dust off, and get this one behind us.”
Senior Jack Aldrich started for Tulane and went five innings, striking out four and allowing four runs. Michael Darrell-Hicks got the start for WKU and threw two innings, allowing three runs, two earned.
WKU opened the scoring in the top of the first, but Tulane bounced back and immediately tied the game on an RBI groundout by Luis Aviles. After falling behind again in the second, the Wave rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning on RBIs from Jacob LaPrairie and Jared Hart.
In the bottom of the fourth with the game tied 3-3 and Chase Engelhard on first, freshman catcher Bennett Lee stepped up and crushed a two-run homer to left-center, giving Tulane a 5-3 lead. The home run was the first of Lee’s career.
“He hung me one and I just got it,” Lee said. “It was one of those peak experiences. I try to stay present at the plate and just see the ball. I am proud of the way our offense was responding and coming back today. We are a great team, but we just have a few things to clean up.”
Lee came up big again in the sixth inning for the Green Wave, as he lined a double to the right field corner with two outs which and scored Ethan Groff to extend Tulane’s lead to 6-4.
WKU put up four runs in the seventh to make it 8-6. With the bases loaded and one out, senior reliever Justin Campbell was able to induce an inning-ending double play that stopped the bleeding and kept the Green Wave within striking distance.
In the bottom of the eighth, Frankie Niemann scored on a LaPrairie single to close the gap to one run (8-7), but that was as close as the Green Wave would get.
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