March 3, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - Junior right-hander Sean Morgan tallied eight strikeouts in a 6.0-inning start and sophomore left fielder Anthony Scelfo went 3-for-5 with an RBI as the Tulane University baseball team survived a wild come-back attempt to defeat Wright State, 9-8, Saturday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
Tulane led 9-1 after eight frames, but the Raiders would go on to score seven runs on eight hits in the top of the ninth to make it a nailbiter. With two away and the tying run at first base, Green Wave closer Daniel Latham struck out WSU reserve Kris Steffen with the bat still on his shoulder to thwart the rally and clinch the series victory.
"We (used) some guys out of the bullpen who hadn't had a whole lot of opportunities (so far in 2007)," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "Things didn't work out the way we wanted them to. You don't envision Daniel Latham getting a save when you're up 9-1 in the ninth."
Morgan, who was moved back one day after suffering a bout with the flu last week, allowed just a pair of singles before giving way to sophomore Jonathan Garrett to start the seventh. Garrett pitched well in his two innings - allowing one run on two hits while walking three and striking out one - before the wild ninth inning.
One inning later, the floodgates opened as the first two Green Wave hitters reached base and sophomore right fielder Warren McFadden made it a 2-0 ballgame with an RBI-double to left central. Junior third baseman Brad Emaus, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI on the day, followed with a run-scoring single, and a walk to sophomore designated hitter Jared Dyer loaded the bases.
From there, Tulane scored runs on a balk, a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-0, and Scelfo put the finishing touches on a six-run inning with an RBI-single up the middle.
"It was good to see us string together some good at-bats there in the middle innings," Jones said. "Warren McFadden had a big double there, and that was one that really helped us."
The Raiders got on the board in the seventh on a two-out, RBI-double by centerfielder John Kopilchack, but Tulane got the run back in the home half of the frame on Emaus' second RBI-single of the day. Henry added what appeared to be an insignificant run with an RBI-groundout in the bottom of the eighth, but the run proved to be a big one as Wright State refused to go away in the top of the ninth.
With Green Wave southpaw Peter Connick making his first appearances of the season to start the ninth, WSU catcher Nick Allsop got things going with a leadoff single before Steffen, middle infielder Ross Oeder and third baseman Dan Biedenharn hit consecutive doubles to make it 9-4. An RBI-single by first baseman Jeremy Harrison chased Connick from the game, and rookie reliever Aaron Loup gave up a run-scoring single to the only man he faced as the Raiders cut the lead to two.
Jones called on set-up man Preston Claiborne to put out the fire, and the freshman from Dallas sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a bad-hop, RBI-double off the bat of pinch hitter Casey McGrew. Pinch hitter Stephen Marquez cut the lead to one with an RBI-single up the middle before Latham ended the ballgame.
"We did not want to use Loup, Claiborne or Daniel, but didn't have a choice," Jones said. "Other guys are going to have to step up and pick up the slack tomorrow. We've had some freshmen who have really shown that they can and will, so tomorrow we'll have to count on them behind (projected starter) Shooter (Hunt)."
Tulane and Wright State close out the series on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. For ticket information for this weekend's games, as well as future Green Wave athletic events, please contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. The Zephyr Field Ticket Office is located on the third-base side of stadium and will open approximately two hours before first pitch for each Tulane home game.