NEW ORLEANS – For five innings Friday night, finding runs was like searching for a four-leaf clover, but Tulane uncovered a batch in the final three innings of its 7-0 St. Patrick’s Day win over Columbia at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
It was an all-around dominant performance for the Green Wave (5-12) in the series opener against the Lions (0-10). Corey Merrill and Chase Solesky combined for a three-hit shutout, the defense was errorless, and the bats came alive with seven runs and seven hits beginning in the sixth inning. The first Columbia baserunner reached second in the ninth inning.
Sal Gozzo and Hunter Williams led the offense, which scored two runs in the sixth and eighth innings, and three runs in the seventh. Gozzo finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI, and Williams was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Merrill (2-2) struck out five and allowed just two hits and two walks in 7.0 innings, and Solesky tossed the final two frames, allowing just an infield single and a walk.
“Anytime you’re in the first game of a three-game series, you’re anticipating that both pitchers are going to be tough,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “It took us some time, but I was proud of the way the guys hung in there and started to string it together. It’s nice to have your starter go deep into a game so you can save the bullpen for the next couple of games. Corey pitched well, and we played pretty good defense behind him.”
The game took the form of a pitcher’s duel between Merrill and Columbia starter Ethan Abrams (0-2) for five-and-a-half innings, until Tulane broke it open starting in the bottom of the sixth. Williams led off the inning with a double, and was followed with one-out RBI singles by Gozzo and Tyler Heinrichs to give the Wave the lead, 2-0.
Lex Kaplan began the seventh with a walk, and scored when the throw on Jarret DeHart’s sacrifice bunt sailed at first base for an error. Walks to Sal Gozzo and Kody Hoese scored a run, and Paul Gozzo plated his twin brother with a sacrifice fly.
In the eighth, the Green Wave added two runs on three extra base hits. Grant Brown led off the frame by legging out a pinch-hit triple to center field. Williams scored him with a double to deep right center, and crossed the plate on Sal Gozzo’s double to the wall in left center.
Tulane and Columbia play Game 2 of the series at 4 p.m. Saturday. The game can be heard on 88.3 FM WRBH and the TuneIn Radio app, and live stats and live video can be found on www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
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Tulane 7, Columbia 0 (Mar 17, 2017 at New Orleans, La.)
Columbia………… 000 000 000 – 0 3 1 (0-10)
Tulane………….. 000 002 32X – 7 10 0 (5-12)
Pitchers: Columbia – Abrams, Ethan; Burns, Ian(6); Pollack, Leo(7) and Robinette, Lane.
Tulane – MERRILL, Corey; SOLESKY, Chase(8) and GOZZO, Paul; ARTIGUES, Jonathon.
Win-MERRILL, Corey(2-2) Loss-Abrams, Ethan(0-2) T-2:45 A-2310
Weather: 70 Ptly Cloudy, Wind S @ 9 mph