LaPrairie’s slam, bullpen lead Wave’s triumph over GCU

Tulane plays UCF at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Tulane plays UCF at 3 p.m. Sunday.(Tulane Baseball)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 6:25 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tulane (10-10) took down Grand Canyon University (9-12-1) in a 7-4 comeback win on Friday night at Turchin Stadium. 

Freshman Jacob LaPrairie’s grand slam that capped off a six-run fourth led Tulane to victory in the first game of the weekend series.

The Green Wave bullpen had a dominant outing, shutting down GCU and sealing the win. 

“I’m really happy for the kids,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “This is something that was needed coming off of last week. I’m proud of them for being resilient after going down 4-0. Excited we could do it against a very good Grand Canyon team.” 

Senior righty Zach Barnes took the hill for GCU and threw three and two thirds innings, allowing six runs on six hits.  

Down 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Tulane put up two runs on RBI base hits from freshman Simon Baumgardt and junior Frankie Niemann to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Then, with the bases loaded and two outs, LaPrairie crushed a 406-foot, no-doubt grand slam to deep right to take a 6-4 lead.

The slam was LaPrairie’s first home run of his career and the inning was Tulane’s highest scoring of the season. 

“Off the bat, I knew I struck it well, but I didn’t know if it was well enough,” LaPrairie said. “I looked to coach Jewett and he said to look for a ball right down the pipe and it was there. In the moment it felt really good. It was my first one which was very cool.” 

Catcher Bennett Lee worked a 12 pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Lee’s walk started a rally and with the bases loaded and one out, center fielder Jared Hart was hit by a pitch, scoring Lee and extending Tulane’s lead to 7-4. 

Righty Jake McDonald relieved Olthoff in the fifth and tossed two scoreless innings. Junior Tyler Hoffman came in for McDonald in the seventh and made quick work of GCU with a 1-2-3 inning.  

Flame-throwing senior Keagan Gillies pitched a clean eighth and lefty Justin Campbell got the first out in the ninth. Freshman Zach DeVito came in with runners on first and second and got two outs to record his third save of the season.  

Senior right-hander Braden Olthoff started for Tulane and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in four innings of work. Olthoff struck out two in his shortest outing of the season.

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