Tulane traveled to Starkville coming off a midweek win against the Privateers. With this momentum, they took aim at the #5/#6 team in the nation, Mississippi State.
Going into Friday’s game, both starting pitchers were high touted by both sides. Tulane redshirt junior RHP Braden Olthoff went up against State’s redshirt freshman LHP Christian MacLeod. Both handled their respective businesses the previous week in their games and their matchup did not disappoint.
The game started off with MacLeod making quick work of the Greenies in the top of the first and then State backed up their starting pitcher with a lead off double by senior Rowdey Jordan who soon later scored by a RBI single from sophomore Kamren James. After the bottom of the first, the game had a score of 1-0 up until the top of the third where Tulane capitalized off the poor defensive play of Mississippi State. With two outs, Tulane redshirt sophomore Collin Burns hit a home run plating himself and redshirt freshman Ethan Groff brining the game to 2-1 Green Wave. The damage wasn’t done there, however, as Tulane continued to create quality at bats with two outs eventually plating another run with a RBI single by redshirt junior Frankie Niemann.
The game went quiet for some time after that eventful top half of the third. Mississippi State’s Christian MacLeod went 4 innings with 87 pitches, before Chris Lemonis, Mississippi State’s head coach, called on to his bullpen to finish the game. All was quiet until the fifth inning when Mississippi State coaches asked the umpires to check Olthoff’s glove for an illegal substance which turned out to be nothing. Both dugouts and coaches were chirping back and forth with each other throughout the whole process which prompted the umpires to issue a warning to both sides.
In the sixth inning, Tulane put up another 3 runs thanks to a RBI double by redshirt sophomore Jared Hart and a 2 RBI single by redshirt freshman Simon Baumgardt. While in the bottom, Mississippi State responded by getting one run back off a RBI double by junior Josh Hatcher. That was all, however, that Mississippi State could muster out against Olthoff. In the ninth, Tulane plated another run thanks, again, to a RBI single by Frankie Niemann pushing the score to 7-2 Green Wave. In the bottom of the ninth, now, Tulane turned to the graduate senior Keagan Gillies to close out the Bulldogs eventually getting the flyout to center. The final score ending in 7-3 Tulane Green Wave.
Braden Olthoff finished the game pitching 8 innings, allowing only 6 hits and striking out 6. He looked confident and did not let anything phase him. With his stellar performance, he was the obvious choice to #SlaptheWall, a tradition where whenever Tulane wins the star player of the game, usually, would get to cement their performance by slapping the wall of the dugout with a Tulane sticker. After the game, Chris Lemonis was asked about him reaching out to the umpires to check to see if Tulane’s starting pitcher had any substance. His response was simply, “We thought there might have been something on there, but obviously there wasn’t. He was jamming it up our tails.”
The Tulane Green Wave goes back to action Saturday at 2pm CST with the chance to take the series against the Bulldogs.