Keagan Gillies tosses gem as Tulane wins at No. 20 UConn, 7-1
HARTFORD, Conn. –
The sophomore pitcher from New Orleans struck out eight batters and scattered six hits and one walk in the gem. Gillies’ (5-4) effort was the first complete game of the season for the Green Wave (21-23, 7-7 American).
Witherspoon’s opposite field grand slam opened up the game with two outs in the fifth inning and Tulane clinging to a 1-0 lead. The junior center fielder launched his second grand slam of the season and the third of his career. His first career slam came in 2016 at UConn.
Tulane’s win sets up a series rubber match in Storrs, Conn. on Sunday. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. CT. The game can be heard on 88.3 FM WRBH in New Orleans or via TuneIn Radio.
“It was much-needed and just fun to watch,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said of Gillies’ complete-game effort. “He’s been giving that to us a lot, so we had a lot of confidence coming into this game, and he gave us exactly what we needed. I’m just really proud of him, and proud of the guys’ stick-to-itiveness today. We were a little off balance early, but we were able to get a big swing by Spoon. I think it gave everybody a chance to step back, take a deep breath and Keagan just took control from there.”
Tulane took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Kody Hoese. Sophomore second baseman Jonathon Artigues was hit by a pitch, moved to third on an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch, and scored on the flyout.
Witherspoon launched his grand slam in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 5-0. It was his seventh home run of the season. The bases loaded up on a walk and two hit batters, and Witherspoon’s hit was Tulane’s first of the game.
Sophomore shortstop Sal Gozzo hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, scoring sophomore designated hitter Luke Glancy from first to extend the lead to 6-1. Gozzo then scored on a sacrifice fly by junior catcher Acy Owen to make the score 7-1.
UConn scored a run in the bottom of the sixth on three straight hits, including a double to right center by center fielder Troy Stefanski and an RBI single to left center by catcher Zac Susi. Gillies rebounded to induce a pop out and flyout to end the inning and limit the damage to one run, then allowed just one hit for the remainder of the game.
Prior to the sixth inning, Gillies had allowed just two singles and one walk, and not more than one runner in an inning. After the three straight hits in the sixth, he retired 11 of the final 13 batters, with the other two reaching on an error in the seventh and a single in the ninth.
UConn starter Chase Gardner (3-2) took the loss for the Huskies (24-13-1, 8-6 American).
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Tulane 7, UConn 1 (Apr 28, 2018 at Hartford, Conn.)
Tulane………….. 000 140 020 – 7 6 1 (21-23, 7-7)
UConn…………… 000 001 000 – 1 6 2 (24-13-1, 8-6)
Pitchers: Tulane – GILLIES, Keagan and OWEN, Acy. UConn – GARDNER; RAJKOWSKI(5); HOLMES(6);
SIMEONE(6); SANTOS(8); RIVERA(9) and SUSI.
Win-GILLIES, Keagan(5-4) Loss-GARDNER(3-2) T-3:07 A-2543
HR TLN – WITHERSPOON, Grant.
GARDNER faced 3 batters in the 5th.
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