Louisiana Baseball took Tulane 10 innings in the 2021 season opener but ultimately dropped a high-quality pitchers dual by a score 3-2 on Friday at Greer Field and Turchin Stadium. After starting his day 0-for-4, Luis Aviles recorded a two-RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Green Wave the win.
Friday's starting pitchers brought their top-notch stuff, both tossing 5.0 or more innings and allowing zero earned runs. Hayden Durke, the first freshman opening day starting pitcher in program history, went toe-to-toe with the Preseason American Conference Pitcher of the Year, Braden Olthoff. Even though Louisiana (0-1) did not tally a run while Olthoff was on the bump, the Ragin’ Cajuns did a nice job working counts and forcing an early exit for the right-handed pitcher. Durke dominated Tulane’s (1-0) lineup all afternoon, finishing with a final line of 5.0 innings pitched, one hit, no earned runs allowed and five punch outs.
Connor Kimple, who finished 2-for-3 on the day, broke open the scoring in the seventh inning with a towering home run to left field, his first as a Ragin’ Cajun. Tulane was quick to answer, however, drawing a slew of walks and tying the game, 1-1. Both Louisiana and Tulane were unable to produce runs in the final two frames, forcing extra innings. Kimple started the 10th with a single and advanced to second on the failed pick-off attempt by Justin Campbell. Campbell then missed the bag while covering first base on a Ben Fitzgerald ground ball, which gave the Cajuns runners on first and third.
Jonathan Brandon then got plunked in the next at-bat before Brennan Breaux walked to give Louisiana a 2-1 lead. Tulane used two walks to start the inning and then another walk later in the frame to load the bases for Aviles, who end the game with a his single. Louisiana is back in action on Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. first pitch against Tulane. Saturday's game will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard on KPEL 96.5.
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