March 16, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - If one were to judge the story of Sean Morgan's performance Friday evening, the first chapter of the novel would not have been an enjoyable read.
The entire book, however, proved to be something special as the junior right-hander from Sugar Land, Texas, struck out a career-high 14 batters to lead the Tulane University baseball team (14-6) to a 6-0 victory in the first of a three-game weekend series against Siena College (0-13) at Zephyr Field.
Morgan walked a pair and tossed a wild pitch in a 30-pitch opening frame, but bounced back to strand the runners in scoring position with an inning-ending strikeout. From there, he faced just one more then the minimum the rest of the day in an 8.0-inning start to improve to 5-1 in 2007.
"Once again, Sean Morgan was just dominant," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "It was a real impressive performance...He just didn't have his rhythm in the first inning. The second inning, you could see he was a totally different guy. Even though he didn't have it in his first inning, he fought through it, got through it and got it going in the second inning. It was classic him after that."
Morgan allowed just one hit on the day - a seeing-eye single off the bat of Saints' designated hitter Eric Mruczek to lead off the second - and the only other base runner he allowed after the first was a one-out walk to catcher Phil Cahill in the eighth.
While Morgan was on top of his game on the mound, the Green Wave offense did its part as well with 10 hits - including two each by junior second baseman Brad Emaus, sophomore designated hitter Warren McFadden and sophomore left fielder Anthony Scelfo. Tulane also took advantage of four Siena errors, including three in a four-run fifth inning to break open a 2-0 game.
Sophomore right fielder Nate Simon had the big hit on the day with a clutch, two-run single with the bases loaded and two away in the bottom of the fifth with gave the Green Wave a 4-0 lead.
After Simon's clutch knock, Tulane added a run when Cahill's throw to second on a stolen base attempt by Simon skipped out of the glove of Siena second baseman Moises Rivera, and senior third baseman Tim Guidry was able to come home from third. McFadden accounted for the game's final run with an RBI single in the ensuing at-bat to plate Simon from second.
"Defensively, we were really solid," Jones said. "Offensively, it wasn't a tremendous night for us, but it certainly was an improvement in that we had some RBI hits. Nate Simon had a big bases-loaded single, and that was big for us because it stretched the lead. When you have Sean Morgan on the mound throwing the way he's throwing with that kind of lead, you feel pretty comfortable"
After allowing just one hit in eight innings, Morgan was relieved by rookie right-hander Taylor Rogers, who struck out one and allowed just one single in scoreless ninth. Rogers' punchout gave the Green Wave its fourth 15-K outing of the 2007 season as Tulane tallied the strikeout total against North Florida twice (Feb. 16, 18) and against Wright State (March 2).
Tulane's first runs of the day came in the third when Emaus and Guidry opened the frame with a single and a walk, respectively, moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single by Scelfo. One inning later, junior shortstop Cat Everett and Emaus hit back-to-back one-out singles and Guidry reached on a fielding error to load the bases with one out to set up Simon's game-changing at-bat.
Siena starter Craig Chaput (0-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing all six runs (two earned) on eight hits and a walk while striking out four in 4.2 innings of action. Will Hassett tossed 2.1 inning of one-hit relief and Maikel Hurtado allowed just a single in a scoreless eighth.
"(Sean Morgan) pitched a great game," Siena head coach Tony Rossi said. "He just dominated us. To have eight called strikes, we really weren't aggressive enough with two strikes. But he threw a hell of a game. They took advantage of our defensive lapses in the sixth inning, but it was going to be tough to score against him because we didn't put the bat on the ball."
Tulane and Siena continue the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. For ticket information to 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.