Feb. 22, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Junior right-hander Shooter Hunt struck out eight in a 6.0-inning start and junior catcher Jared Dyer went 3-for-4 with a home run as the Tulane University baseball team opened the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium in style with a 6-0 victory over Illinois Chicago on Friday evening.
Hunt scattered three hits during his time on the mound and did not allow a walk. Sophomore shortstop Josh Prince - a transfer from the University of Texas - and freshman third baseman Rob Segedin went 2-for-4 in their Green Wave debuts, as did junior second baseman Seth Henry.
"Those are two guys (Dyer and Hunt) who last year were first-year players in our program and acted like veteran players tonight," Tulane head baseball coach Rick Jones said. "They really gave us a lift both offensively and defensively, and Jared caught really well and made some really good plays around the plate."
The story of the night, however, was the stadium itself. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Grammy-Award winner Irma Thomas singing the National Anthem, and a fireworks show prior to first pitch, the atmosphere was more like a Homecoming Football game than a season-opening baseball contest.
After playing the last two seasons nearly 20 minutes away from campus, the Green Wave played at home for the first time since June 13, 2005, and were greeted warmly by the 5,093 fans that rattled the turnstiles. And when Hunt took the mound to start the ballgame, none of the fans were sitting as the noise level swelled immensely.
"Nothing could have prepared me for that," Hunt said. "I was trying to calm myself down, I was taking my deep breaths out there, but once I looked up and I saw all these people out here, I was like `Okay, it's really game time now. It's not intrasquad or fall ball. It's time to go.' But I was able to settle down as the game went on and I felt good."
Tulane wasted little time jumping on the Flames, plating three runs in the first on an RBI grounder by junior left fielder Anthony Scelfo and a two-run single by Segedin. Dyer made it a 4-0 affair with a leadoff bomb in the second.
"I thought I hit it good, but I kind of got nervous because the wind knocked it down a little bit," Dyer said of his home run. "It was great. I came into the dugout and (pitching) Coach (Chad) Sutter came up to me and said `Congratulations, we both own home run records at the school now'...except he has about 72 more than me."
That would be more than enough support for Hunt and the Wave bullpen as the preseason All-American faced just two more than the minimum during his time on the hill before giving way to fellow junior right-hander Trey Martin to start the seventh. Martin allowed just one hit in 2.0 innings of relief, and junior closer Mason Griffin slammed the door with a perfect ninth.
UIC starter Grant Kohlstaedt settled down after the first two innings and kept Tulane off the scoreboard over the next three stanzas. In the sixth, however, Segedin, junior centerfielder Aja Barto and Dyer hit consecutive singles to chase him from the game.
Reliever Don Phillis gave up just one hit the rest of the inning, but not before Prince drove in Segedin with an infield single and Barto scored on an RBI-groundout off the bat of junior right fielder Drew Allain to account for the final score. Kohlstaedt (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits while walking a pair and striking out five.
Tulane and Illinois Chicago continue the series on Saturday with a 2 p.m. start, and close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. Saturday's game will be broadcast live on the flagship station of Tulane baseball, WRBH 88.3 FM, but Sunday's contest will be internet only due to a conflict with the women's basketball team.
Every home game during the 2008 season will be streamed live on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. Fans who have signed up for the All-Access Pass can watch every pitch of the action as the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium has been wired with three cameras which will not only show replays on the new video board, but also broadcast live in the Internet.
For ticket information for the remainder of the weekend and future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or go on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.