Freshman southpaw J.R. Crowel tied a career-high with seven strikeouts and gave up just one unearned run on four hits as the Tulane University baseball team took a 3-1 decision over seventh-seeded Louisville Thursday night in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament at Turchin Stadium.
Green Wave head coach Rick Jones picked up career win No. 700 in the victory as Tulane improves to 42-16 overall and advances to play the winner of the Louisville/South Florida game – which is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday – at 12:30 Saturday afternoon. Louisville, meanwhile, falls to 33-22 on the year.
"J.R. was outstanding tonight," Jones said. "We had six hits, and when that happens, you have to have someone come in and pitch well. J.R's
pitched well for us in big games all year long, and tonight was no different.
"As for win No. 700, when you surround yourself with good coaches and good players, the wins are going to come. The bulk of these wins have
come while I've been here at Tulane, so that makes it special, and getting the win in a tournament makes it even better."
Crowel (8-0), the C-USA Freshman of the Year, kept the Cardinals off the board until the bottom of the eighth when Louisville scratched across
an unearned run on first baseman Morgan Bojorquez's RBI-double to left to cut the lead
to 2-1. The Cardinals could have tied the score
on the play as U of L catcher Ron Braun attempted to come plateward all the way from first base, but Tulane senior centerfielder Jonny Kaplan
got the ball in to cutoff man Tony Giarratano, and the junior shortstop threw a strike to catcher Brian Bormaster who tagged Braun out
to end the inning.
The Green Wave plated an insurance run in the
top of the ninth when senior right fielder Aaron Feldman hit a leadoff double, advanced to
second when junior third baseman Turner Brumby reached on an error and scored on an RBI-single that just got by the outstretched arm of
Cardinal third baseman Ryan McKinnon to push the lead back to two, and junior closer Joey Charron pitched around a Tulane error in the bottom
of the frame to earn his 12th save of the year and seal the victory.
Overshadowed in the Tulane win was a stellar performance by Louisville starter Zach Jackson, who went eight strong innings and holding the
Green Wave to four hits while walking two and tallying four strikeouts.
Tulane drew first blood with an unearned run in the top of the third as sophomore second baseman Tommy Manzella got hit by a pitch to open the
frame and came around to score one batter later when Bormaster reached on a three-base throwing error by McKinnon.
The Green Wave made it 2-0 one inning later as sophomore designated hitter Gerald Clark broke
up Jackson's no-hit bid with a single to left, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Manzella.
By advancing in the winner's bracket, Tulane
will enjoy a day off on Friday before returning to tourney action on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The
Conference USA Tournament, however, continues tomorrow with a pair of elimination games. Third-seeded Houston opens day three with a 3 p.m.
showdown with East Carolina in a rematch of Wednesday's 2-1 Cougar victory, and the Cardinals take on seventh-seeded South Florida at 6:30
p.m. The winner of the Cougar/Pirate contest advances to play regular-season C-USA champion Southern Miss on Saturday at 9 a.m.
Tulane Downs Louisville 3-1 In C-USA Tourney
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