Tulane run rules Wichita State to advance to the AAC Championship semifinals

Tulane advances to the semifinals. (Source: Parker Waters)
Tulane advances to the semifinals. (Source: Parker Waters)(Parker Waters)
Published: May. 29, 2021 at 7:49 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Facing elimination in the American Athletic Conference tournament, junior Braden Olthoff rose to the challenge as he worked a complete game, lifting the Green Wave to a 12-2 victory over Wichita State in seven innings Friday night at BayCare Ballpark.

Olthoff delivered the third straight quality start for the Green Wave in the tournament as he struck out 10 batters and walked no one to pick up his team-leading sixth win on the year. In his 7.0 innings of work, the Oceanside, California native struck out 10 Shockers and allowed just two earned runs.

“Going into the game, my arm just felt really good,” Olthoff said. “It’s probably the best I felt since opening day.”

The Green Wave right-hander has now struck out 10-or-more batters in four games this season. In two appearances against Wichita State this year, Olthoff has struck out 20 Shockers.

With the win, Tulane improved to 30-23 on the year and will make its second appearance in the AAC championship semifinals in program history. Tulane’s last appearance in the AAC tournament semifinal occurred back in 2016.

“I’m happy for the boys for sure,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We did exactly what we set this rotation to do. Braden gave us one of his typical starts and I’m real proud of him. It was great to see our offense come to life. Overall, it was a great team effort, and we were able to save the bullpen which will be much needed as we go into tomorrow.”

Tulane’s win over Wichita State moved the Green Wave to 4-0 this season against the Shockers. Earlier this year, Tulane swept Wichita State in three games at home.

“I want to congratulate Wichita State for a heck of a season,” Jewett said. “They have great coaches and we beat a good team tonight.”

In addition to Olthoff’s complete game, the Green Wave received a surge of offense thanks to 13 hits, marking the 22nd time this season Tulane has collected 10-or-more hits. Three of the Green Wave’s hits came off the bat of freshman Chase Engelhard.

Engelhard’s three hits translated into four RBI to push his team-leading total to 49 on the year. The Atlanta, Georgia native also scored a pair of runs.

“We took advantage of their misses over the plate and as a team that really boasted our confidence,” Engelhard said. “Over the past two games, we haven’t been swinging the bat very well, but today was just huge for our team.”

Teammate Jared Hart also collected three hits on the night, as he hit out of the cleanup spot for the first time this season. Hart took full advantage hitting out of the four hole for the Green Wave, as he drove in a pair of runs and scored once.

Tulane took the early lead, as it scored one run in the bottom of the first inning, but Wichita State responded by scoring a run in the second and one in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. The Green Wave fought back in a big way over the next two frames, scoring four in the fourth and seven in the fifth to open up a commanding 12-2 lead.

The key to the Green Wave’s offensive explosion in the four and fifth innings was the team’s ability to keep the frame going with two outs. Tulane scored seven of its 11 runs with two outs during that fourth and fifth inning stretch, as it picked up its first seven inning win on the year.

“To me that was the biggest part - we only had to play seven,” Engelhard said. “Braden (Olthoff) was the only guy that pitched, and we didn’t have anyone come out of the pen.”

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