Feb. 26, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Junior right fielder Drew Allain went 3-for-5 with a run scored and rookie right-hander Nick Pepitone pitched the Green Wave out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the 12th and final inning as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Southeastern Louisiana, 4-3, in game one of the 2008 Senator's Cup Series at the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Pepitone came on in relief of Preston Claiborne in the 12th and got pinch-hitter Josh Cryer to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. In the home half of the stanza, reserve left fielder Scott Powell drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Allain, and junior Anthony Scelfo walked to put a pair on with only one away.
Junior first baseman Sam Honeck, who was 0-for-3 with a pair of walks on the day going into what proved to be the game's final at-bat, ripped a 1-1 offering from Lions' reliever Brandon Efferson just over the outstretched glove of Brian McCants in center to drive in the winning run.
"In my time here, Southeastern and Tulane have played so many games like this, regardless of how good they were or how good we were," Tulane head baseball coach Rick Jones said. "It seems like every time we play them, it's always just like this. So, this is pretty much the same kind of game I'm used to with those guys. It took some really good defensive plays and some quality at-bats, and we pitched really well out of the bullpen."
With the win, Tulane improves to 4-0 on the young season while Southeastern Louisiana fell to 3-1. The two teams will continue the Senator's Cup Series on March 25 in Hammond, La., before closing out the three-game series on April 15 back at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Both teams had several opportunities to scratch across runs throughout the ballgame, but the two bullpens combined to strike out 14 and give up just eight hits and one earned run over the final six and a half innings. Southeastern stranded 11 runners on base while Tulane left on 10 (two were on base when the game ended).
Allain led all players with three hits while junior catcher Jared Dyer and junior centerfielder Aja Barto each had a pair. The story of the game, however, was the Green Wave bullpen. Junior right-hander Josh Zeid tossed a pair of scoreless frames, junior Trey Martin retired the side in the eighth, junior Mason Griffin allowed just one hit in the ninth and 10th combined, and Preston Claiborne gave up just one earned run in an inning and a third.
The Lions drew first blood as second baseman Jordan D'Arensbourg was hit by a pitch to open the game, advanced the bases on an errant pick-off attempt and a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a double-steal try. Southeastern Louisiana padded the lead in the fifth when D'Arensbourg doubled and scored on an RBI-single by shortstop Ty Summerline.
From there, Barto got things going with a one-out double and scored on an RBI-single off the bat of junior second baseman Seth Henry to cut the Lions' lead in half. Allain tied the ballgame in the sixth when he led off the frame with a double, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out single by Dyer.
It remained a tied ballgame until the 11th when Southeastern Louisiana capitalized on a two-out throwing error as McCants touched the paystation to make it 3-2. It looked like Tulane would suffer its first loss of the season as Barto popped out to short and junior designated hitter Warren McFadden hit a can-of-corn fly ball to right.
McFadden's ball, however, dropped when SLU right-fielder Cass Hargis slipped twice and kicked the ball toward the infield for a two-base error. One out later, Henry hit a routine grounder to third, but Casey Summerlin's throw to first pulled William Lefever off the bag. Henry slid under the tag and McFadden was able to score from 180 feet away to send the game into the 12th.
D'Arensbourg got the inning started on a high note for Southeastern with a double to left. A walk to Ty Summerlin and a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Brandon Street put a pair of runners into scoring position, before Claiborne intentionally walked left fielder Xavier Qualls to load the bases to set up Pepitone's heroics.
"(It was a) great college baseball game tonight," Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jay Artigues said. "You've got to tip your hat to Tulane. They did a great job battling, competing the entire time, and it was a good ballgame. We had a chance to add on early and extend our lead and we didn't take advantage of it. Tulane definitely capitalized."
Tulane returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 27, when the Green Wave take on No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette at 6 p.m. at the new Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. For ticket information Wednesday night's contest 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.