NEW ORLEANS, La.–Junior southpaw J.R. Crowel tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game effort, and senior catcher Greg Dini hammered a three-run homer as the No. 2 Tulane University baseball team defeated cross-town foe UNO, 6-0, Tuesday evening at Maestri Field.
Crowel tossed his second complete-game shutout in his last 10 starts – the last coming in the 2004 NCAA Oxford Regional in a 7-0 win over Western Kentucky – and tied the strikeout mark set last season against UMBC on Feb. 21 at Turchin Stadium. With the win, Tulane improves to 26-5 on the year. UNO, meanwhile, falls to 8-19.
Privateer pitching limited the Green Wave to six hits on the night, but three were of the RBI variety. Tulane also took advantage of six walks and three UNO errors to take a 2-0 advantage in the regular-season series. The two teams will close out the annual slate on Tuesday, May 3, at Zephyr Field with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m.
The game, however, belonged to Crowel, who walked a pair and scattered a trio of hits to improve to 6-0 on the year. The preseason All-Conference USA selection from Boynton Beach, Fla., got off to a rocky start in 2005, and sported a 7.01 ERA after four starts. After giving up five runs in the first two innings of the March 13 game against Cal State Fullerton, Crowel has given up just a pair of earned runs in the last 29.1 innings for an eye-popping 0.61 ERA.
In addition, Tulane starters have now combined for 41 strikeouts and just nine walks in the last five games, including 15 Ks and four free passes by Crowel. The shutout was the fourth of the year for Tulane, and the 12th blanking of an opponent since last season.
Tulane wasted little time jumping on the Privateers as junior centerfielder Nathan Southard led off the contest with a walk, advanced the bases on a stolen base and a deep fly-ball out off the bat of rookie third baseman Brad Emaus, and scored on an RBI-single by senior shortstop Tommy Manzella. Manzella followed Southard's lead by stealing second, went to third on an errant throw down by UNO catcher Mile Cabeceiras, and touched the paystation on a sacrifice fly by senior designated hitter Scott Madden to stake the Green Wave to a 2-0 advantage.
The Green Wave kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second as sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton reached on an error to open the frame, junior first baseman Micah Owings walked and senior second baseman Joe Holland hit into a fielder's choice in the ensuing at-bat to erase Hamilton at third.
From there, Dini stepped to plate, and the backstop who missed the last two games after getting hit on the hand by a pitch in Friday's 11-3 win over Conference USA foe UAB showed no ill effects of the injury when he turned on a
1-2 offering from UNO starter Justin Vergara and sent it over the wall in left to give Tulane a
The Privateers were able to keep Tulane off the board over the next five innings, but the Green Wave would add an insurance run in the eighth when senior right fielder Matt Barket hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a wild pitch by reliever Nick Augustavo and scored on an RBI-single to right by Hamilton to close out the scoring.
Crowel, meanwhile, mowed through the Privateer lineup from start to finish, facing just three more than the minimum in the first seven innings of play. The lone hiccup of his outing came in the eighth when UNO right fielder Tony Gonzalez reached on an error to open the inning, and Crowel gave up a single to leadoff hitter Josh Jones and walked centerfielder Brandon Bowser to load the bases. The Green Wave bulldog would bear down, however, to get three-hole hitter Mike Costantino to fly out to right, and Crowel would retire the side in order in the ninth to close out the contest.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, April 8, when Tulane travels to the Tar Heel State to take on Conference USA foe Charlotte in a three-game series at Tom & Lib Phillips Field. The two teams open the slate on Friday at 5 p.m. and play game two of the weekend tilt on Saturday at 1 p.m. Tulane and Charlotte close the weekend out on Sunday with first pitch slate for noon, and that ballgame will be televised in North Carolina on C-SET.
Tulane's Crowel Hurls Wave Past UNO,6-0
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