The only thing hotter than Tulane starter Braden Olthoff’s (1-0) arm in Starkville Friday night may have been the Cajun food at Rosey Baby’s. The Green Wave ace had a field day against the Bulldog bats, working 8 innings, striking out 6, and only giving up 1 walk while guiding his squad to a 7-3 victory at Dudy Noble Field. Lackluster defensive play mixed with the prowess of the Green Wave pitcher led to the undoing of the Diamond Dawgs.
Bulldog starter Christian MacLeod (0-1) took the mound Friday night for his second start of the year after coming off a solid performance and a no decision against Texas in Arlington the week before. The big lefty from Huntsville, AL made quick work of the Green Wave in the top half of the first, recording a 1-2-3 inning. The Bulldogs drew first blood in the bottom of the first when Rowdey Jordan hit the first pitch he saw from Olthoff to left center for a double, he was plated by a Tanner Allen single to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Things cooled off for the Bulldogs in a big way from there, quite the contrast to the Green Wave who came alive after the first. In the top of the 3rd, Tulane’s Ethan Groff was hit by a pitch and was able to take second base on a mis-handled throw down from the catcher. Then, with 2 outs, Tulane’s Collin Burns deposited a pitch into the left-field corner for a 2 run homer to give the Green Wave a 2-1 lead. Then Trevor Minder singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, he then scored on a Frankie Niemann single, giving the visitors a 3-1 lead before the Bulldogs got the 3rd out. Tulane would never trail again. In the top of the 6th, Niemann reached on another Bulldog error and was able to advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. Chase Engelhard then walked, and Jared Hart doubled to score Niemann. Simon Baumgardt then singled, plating Engelhard and Hart, giving Tulane a 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs got 1 run back in the bottom of the 6th when Tanner Allen singled to center and was scored by Josh Hatcher on a double to make the score 6-2. The score remained until the top of the 9th when Collin Burns singled and the advanced on another Bulldog fielding error. He was driven by a Frankie Niemann single to make it a 7-2 ballgame. The Bulldogs attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, but it didn’t get very far. DH Luke Hancock drew a walk and then advanced to second with 2 outs. He was plated by Drew McGowan, but that was the end of the comeback as Tulane closer Keegan Gillies induced a 2 out fly ball to center field to end the ballgame and take game 1 of the series 7-3.
The Bulldogs finished the game with 4 errors which proved to be the undoing for the home team. Bulldog starter Christian MacLeod went 4 innings, giving up 3 hits, 3 runs, 0 earned, while striking out 6. The Bulldogs used a plethora of arms, including an inning from Riley Self. Xavier Lovett, Chase Patrick, KC Hunt, Dylan Carmouche, and Drew Talley also saw time on the bump for the M over S. Tanner Allen was 2-4 on the night with an RBI. Josh Hatcher also extended his on-base streak to 12 games.
After the game, when asked about having the umpires check Olthoff’s glove for a foreign substance, Coach Chris Lemonis said, “There was nothing there, he was just shoving it up our tails.”
It was definitely that kind of the night for the Diamond Dawgs where nothing went right. The Bulldogs look to rebound today at 2 pm CT as Eric Cerantola takes the bump to see if the good guys can even the series.
Recap and Box Score can be found here