CLEARWATER, Fla. — Teo Banks hit for the cycle as No. 5 Tulane eliminated No. 4 Cincinnati, 13-5, at the 2022 TicketSmarter American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship, Friday afternoon at BayCare Ballpark.
Banks became the first player to hit for the cycle in Championship history, hitting a triple in the first, a single in the second, a double in the fourth and a home run in the eighth. He also scored three runs and drove in four.
With the win, the Green Wave (33-25-1) will face East Carolina on Saturday, May 28 at 9 a.m. Eastern on ESPN+. Tulane would need to defeat the Pirates twice on Saturday to advance to the Championship on Sunday, May 29. Cincinnati finishes its season with a 24-31 record.
The Green Wave jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as Banks hit a 2-run triple and scored on an RBI single by Simon Baumgardt. Gavin Schulz made it 6-0 in the third when he hit a 2-run home run to left, his second of the season.
The last six runs scored by Tulane came via the long ball, as Trevor Minder hit 2-run home runs in the fourth and eighth, sandwiched by Banks’ 2-run shot earlier in the eighth.
Cincinnati scored its first four runs by a pair of 2-run home runs, as Ryan Nicholson hit his 12th of the year in the fourth and conference Player of the Year Griffin Merritt hit his league-leading 20th of the season in the sixth.
Carter Robinson (4-4) earned the win for Tulane, striking out eight in 5.0 innings with only two runs allowed. Chandler Welch earned his second save of the season, allowing one run over the last 3.2 innings of the game. Alex Shea (0-4) took the loss, allowing four runs while pitching two batters into the second inning.
(Courtesy of the American Athletic Conference)