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Five Run First Inning Leads Green Wave Past Cajuns

The Tulane Green Wave scored five first inning runs and never trailed in the game as they defeated Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns 7-5 Tuesday night before 2,144 at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

Tulane (17-18) used a strong starting pitching performance by Randy LeBlanc (1-2) and the big first inning to take the victory in the Green Wave’s first visit to “The Tigue” since the 2003 season.

Cajuns starter Chase Traffica (3-2) failed to retire a batter in the first inning as the five men he faced all reached base.  Freshman Richard Carthon led off the game with a double and was singled to third by Brennan MIddleton.  Blake Crohan was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A passed ball allowed the first run to score, but the bases were immediately reloaded on a walk to Brandon Boudreaux.  A two run single by first baseman Sean Potkay made it 3-0 before left hander Kody Smith came on to replace Traffica.  A single by Andrew Garner loaded the bases for a third time and Tulane got their fourth run of the inning when Garrett Cannizaro hit into a double play.  A Blake Trahan error allowed the fifth run of the inning to score.

The Cajuns got three runs back in the bottom of the first on a walk to Seth Harrison, a double by Ryan Leonards, which extended his hitting streak to nine games and a three run homer by Tyler Girouard over the right field wall.  It was Girouard’s fifth homer of the season and gave him the team RBI lead at 26.

After the first inning, both pitchers settled into a groove.  Leblanc allowed a second inning single to Dex Kjerstad and didn’t allow another hit in the six innings he worked.  Leblanc walked five and struck out four in his six innings of work.

Smith, meanwhile, was almost equally as sharp, giving up a run in the fourth on a two out single by Carthon which scored Cannizaro, who had led off the inning with a walk.

LeBlanc faced one batter in the seventh, but left after a leadoff walk to Chase Compton.  Tulane closer Ian Gibaud replaced LeBlanc.  After Jace Conrad flied out, freshman Blake Trahan unloaded his third homer of the season over the left field wall to bring the Cajuns within a run at 6-5.

But the Green Wave got an insurance run in the eighth when Smith threw away Garner’s grounder to lead off the eighth.  After Cannizaro flied out, reliever Matt Hicks entered and struck out Bowen Woodson for the second out.  But, pinch hitter TIm Yandel singled to center, scoring Garner with an important run.

The Cajuns threatened in the eighth with a couple of walks and a balk by Gibaud to put two men in scoring position, but Compton popped up to end the inning.

Then in the ninth the Cajuns got a leadoff single by Conrad.  Trahan flied out, but Kjerstad singled to put runners at first and second.  Pinch hitter Dylan Butler’s ground ball moved the runners into scoring position, but Gibaud struck out Leonards to earn his eighth save of the season.

Smith gave the Cajuns a chance to come back by throwing 7.1 innings, allowing three hits and two runs, one earned.  But the Cajuns were unable to get the clutch hit down the stretch as Louisiana was held to just six hits.

The Cajuns (22-10) now hit the road for a game at Brown-Stroud field in Natchitoches against Northwestern State Wednesday night at 6:30 before heading to Little Rock for a three game series this weekend against UALR.

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