Tulane drops opener to East Carolina, 12-4
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Freshman catcher Bennett Lee had a team-high three hits, but it was not enough, as the No. 22-ranked Tulane University baseball team dropped a 12-4 decision to No. 13 East Carolina Friday afternoon at Lewis Field at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
With the loss, Tulane fell to 24-15 overall and 13-3 in American Athletic Conference action. The Green Wave’s game one loss marked just the second time this season that Tulane has dropped the first game of a league weekend series.
“First off you have to congratulate East Carolina they came out here ready to rock and roll today and they had a good approach to (Braden) Olthoff today and they were the aggressors,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We had some opportunities that we left on the table, but it’s just game one. What we are going to have to do is get back off the mat, get some good rest tonight and get back at this thing tomorrow.”
Lee’s three-hit afternoon marked the 21st straight game he has reached base. Redshirt junior Frankie Niemann also had a strong day offensively for the Green Wave, as he smashed a pair of hits and drove in two runs. Sophomore Collin Burns also collected a hit as he reached base for the 22nd straight game.
The game was delayed until 12:32 CT due to poor weather conditions predicted for the area. Once the game got underway, ECU jumped out to an early lead, opening up a 5-0 advantage through five innings. The Pirates plated one run in the second, three in the fourth and one in the fifth. ECU’s three-run fourth inning featured back-to-back home runs by Bryson Worrell and Seth Caddell.
Tulane starter Braden Olthoff had his shortest outing of the year. The Oceanside, California native worked just 4.0 innings, was touched up for nine hits and surrendered four earned runs. Tulane used a total of six relievers after Olthoff did not return for the fifth inning.
The Green Wave fought back in the top half of the sixth, as they plated a pair of runs to make the count 5-2. Lee and Niemann both drove home runs in the inning. Tulane brought the go-ahead run to the plate by loading the bases in the sixth, but the Green Wave left the bases loaded.
ECU quickly responded to the Green Wave’s two-run inning by scoring one run in the bottom of the sixth. The Pirates then scored three runs in the seventh to make the count 9-2.
Tulane continued to fight in the eighth inning as it plated two runs in the frame thanks to an RBI double by Niemann and an RBI single by junior Luis Aviles to make the count 9-4. The Green Wave would then go on to load the bases with one out in the inning, but were unable to cut into ECU’s lead.
ECU once again respond to Tulane’s scoring effort in the bottom of the frame to make the count 12-4.
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