STAYING ALIVE: Tulane Run Rules USF 16-6 to Remain in the AAC Championship

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CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Tulane University baseball team once again faced elimination in the American Athletic Conference tournament and once again the Green Wave rose to the challenge as it posted its second straight run rule victory, defeating USF 16-6 in eight innings Saturday afternoon at BayCare Ballpark. 

Redshirt sophomore Collin Burns led the way offensively finishing with a tournament record seven RBI. The Metairie, Louisiana native finished the game by going 3-of-6 at the plate and was a double away from hitting for the cycle.

Four of Burns’ RBI came at crucial moment in the fourth inning when the Green Wave trailed by four runs. Down to its last out in the frame, Burns stepped up to the plate and delivered his second career grand slam by parking a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall to tie the game at five runs apiece.

“The kids came out and played really well, especially after taking a punch,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “It’s survive and advance, that’s what we keep talking about. We’re just trying to win one game at a time, we’re not trying to win the whole tournament today.”

Burns’ dramatic two-out grand slam significantly changed the course of the game for the Green Wave. Prior to Burns’ eighth home run on the year, Tulane had totaled just three hits.

Two batters later, Tulane took the lead as freshman Chase Engelhard drilled a two-run home run over the left centerfield wall to give the Green Wave a 7-5 lead.

After taking the lead, Green Wave pitcher Donovan Benoit made sure there was no way USF would get back into the game, as he held the Bulls to just four hits for the remainder of the game.

Benoit, who worked out of the bullpen for the second time in the tournament was dominant in relief of starter Tyler Hoffman. The Green Wave right-hander worked for 4.1 innings, struck out nine and gave just one earned run as he collected his fourth win on the year.

“He looked like a major league pitcher today,” Jewett said of Benoit. “He’s got great arm talent, there’s never been any secret on that, it’s just his ability to command the strike zone. When he commands the strike zone with his arm talent, you can see what a force we have out there.”

Tulane’s offense did its part to support Benoit, as it went on to collected five runs in the seventh and four in the eighth to put the game out of reach for USF.

Eleven of the Green Wave’s 16 runs came with two outs. Tulane has collected nearly half of its 302 RBI this season with two out (133 RBI with two outs). Tulane once again received a surge of offense thanks to 14 hits, marking the 23rd time this season Tulane has collected 10-or-more hits.

With the win, Tulane improved to 31-23 on the year and captured its third victory in the AAC Championship. The Green Wave have never won three games in the AAC Championship.

UP NEXT
Tulane will face USF game in an elimination game in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday night in Clearwater, Florida. The first pitch for Tulane’s matchup on Saturday is set for approximately 8 p.m. CT inside BayCare Ballpark. Click here for information on the AAC Championship. The game will be aired live on ESPN+ and can be heard on the radio by tuning into WRBH 88.3 FM.

{Press release courtesy of Tulane Athletics}

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