Tulane lefty Massey’s strong return spoiled by Cajuns pitching, 1-0

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Ross Massey


NEW ORLEANS – A single run in the first inning proved to be the difference in the game, as Tulane baseball fell to Louisiana-Lafayette, 1-0, Tuesday evening at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

The Green Wave (18-19) received a stellar performance on the mound from sophomore Ross Massey, who pitched 7.0 innings, and freshman Keagan Gillies, who was perfect in 2.0 innings of relief. Tulane recorded seven hits and drew six walks, but was unable to cross the plate for the first time this season.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (22-14-1) scored a run on four straight walks in the top of the first. The Green Wave pitchers then allowed only two baserunners for the remainder of the game – the only two hits of the night for ULL – and faced the minimum number of batters after the first inning.

“Losing isn’t ever what you want, but at the same time when you can look at inserting Ross Massey back into the starting rotation and to think that he would pitch seven innings of one-run ball, it’s awesome,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “It almost gives me chills thinking about what he’s been through and what he’s done to get back to that moment. He gave us everything that we needed.”

Massey started on the mound for the first time in three weeks, and turned in a formidable pitching performance, particularly in his final six frames. He lasted 7.0 innings, struck out three batters, and allowed two hits and four walks. Gillies was perfect in two frames, and tallied a pair of strikeouts.

After the first inning, Massey allowed just two baserunners, and faced the minimum through six straight innings. Following the fourth walk, he got a strikeout and groundout to end the first inning, and retired 18 of the final 20 batters he faced. A leadoff single in the second inning was erased by an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, and a two-out single in the fifth was expunged by a 1-3-6 caught stealing.

Freshman shortstop Sal Gozzo knocked two of the team’s seven hits, but the Green Wave left 14 runners on base. Tulane loaded the bases in the final three innings, but was unable to push a run across the plate. In the ninth, sophomore right fielder Grant Witherspoon hit a one-out single, and senior first baseman Hunter Williams and senior designated hitter Jarret DeHart drew two-out walks to load the bases. Junior center fielder Grant Brown drove the ball to left center field, but it was caught by the left fielder to end the game.

Brown finished the game with a double and two walks, and Williams, freshman catcher Paul Gozzo and senior second baseman Jake Willsey also tallied base hits in the game. The double play in the second inning was the 40th of the season for the Green Wave defense, which ties for fifth in the nation.

“Sometimes the ball just doesn’t find the outfield grass, but we had some good at bats, and we put constant pressure on them all night long,” Jewett said. “We had guys on the bases all night. We’ve been coming up with those hits, and tonight we just weren’t able to come through with it. Sometimes you can take some positives even from a loss. We were in a situation to win that game, and that’s really all you can ask.”

ULL reliever Colten Schmidt (1-0) allowed two hits and struck out four in 2.1 innings in relief of starter Evan Guillory and earned the win. Dylan Moore pitched the final 2.1 innings and earned his eighth save.

The Green Wave has a quick turnaround, as it faces No. 16 Southern Miss at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. Tickets are available by calling 504-861-WAVE, or in person at the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office in the James W. Wilson Center.

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Louisiana-Lafayette 1, Tulane 0 (Apr 18, 2017 at New Orleans, La.)
Louisiana-Lafayette. 100 000 000 – 1 2 1 (22-14-1)
Tulane………….. 000 000 000 – 0 7 0 (18-19)
Pitchers: Louisiana-Lafayette – Guillory, Evan; Schmidt, Colten(5); Moore, Dylan(7) and
Monica, Handsome. Tulane – MASSEY, Ross; GILLIES, Keagan(8) and GOZZO, Paul; ARTIGUES, Jonathon.
Win-Schmidt, Colten(1-0) Save-Moore, Dylan(8) Loss-MASSEY, Ross(0-5) T-2:45 A-2198
Weather: 78 Ptly Cloudy, Wind SE @10mph

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