March 17, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Sophomore right-hander Sean Morgan tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in an 8.0-inning start, and rookie third baseman Seth Henry erased a 3-2 deficit with a three-run double in the fourth as the Tulane University baseball team defeated South Alabama, 6-3, Friday evening at Zephyr Field.
The Jaguars, which entered the game hitting .345, jumped on Morgan (4-1) for two runs on three hits in the first. The big righty settled down from there, and allowed just one hit and a walk over the next seven innings. Senior outfielders Nathan Southard and Matt Riser had two hits each, but none was bigger than Henry's bases-loaded double which gave Tulane a 5-2 advantage it would not relinquish.
"Seth really had a good at-bat, and he played well defensively, too," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "He got a fast ball and did a good job of swinging. (Morgan) had as good of a pitching performance as I've seen in a while. After the first inning, he was special in the end. He had great stuff and he had great command. He beat a real good club tonight."
With the win, Tulane improves to 13-7 on the year. South Alabama, meanwhile, saw their winning streak snapped at five as the Jaguars fall to 14-7. The two teams return to action on Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m. at Zephyr Field, before heading to Mobile, Ala., for the series finale on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Stanky Field on the USA campus.
Holding a 3-2 after three and a half innings, South Alabama starter Zach Piccola (1-2) appeared to be in control after retiring the first two men he faced in the bottom of the fourth. From there, however, the Green Wave got a walk, a catcher-interference call and a hit batsman to load the bases, and Henry made the Jaguars pay by lacing a 2-1 offering into the gap in left central to give Tulane a two-run advantage.
The Green Wave padded its lead one inning later on a two-out RBI-single by sophomore shortstop Cat Everett to plate Southard from third.
The Jaguars jumped out to an early advantage as Jones sent the third pitch of the game to the wall in right for a leadoff triple before third baseman David Freese singled two hitters later to give South Alabama a 1-0 lead. Cunningham followed with a base hit to move Freese to third, and shortstop Guillermo Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to center to stake the Jaguars to a 2-0 advantage.
Junior first baseman Mark Hamilton cut the lead in half with a leadoff homer to right in the second. Two outs later, Riser hit a bunt single, stole second and scored from 180 feet away on a strikeout-wild pitch by Piccola to tie the game.
The game did not remain deadlocked for long, however, as Jones hammered a 1-0 offering from Morgan over the wall in right to lead off the third, but that would be the final hit for the Jaguars the rest of the way.
Tulane wasted a leadoff single in the home half of the frame, but took advantage of some breakdowns by South Alabama one inning later. Piccola retired the first two men he faced before walking freshman designated hitter Aja Barto - who made his first start since Feb. 18 against Penn State when he suffered a hairline fracture in his left hand after being hit by a pitch.
Riser hit what appeared to be an inning-ending groundout to third, but South Alabama catcher Joel Collines was called for catcher's interference, and rookie catcher Max Kwan was hit by a pitch to load the bases and set up Henry's heroic at-bat.
"It was disappointing in that we had two outs there in the inning," South Alabama head coach Steve Kittrell said. "Then all of the sudden there's a walk, a catcher's interference and a hit by pitch, and their guy Henry clutches up with a big double in the next at-bat when he should have even been up. That's a sign of a good club. They capitalize on a mistake."
For ticket information to Saturday's ballgame and future Green Wave Athletics events, contact the Tulane Ticket Office at 504-247-1240. The Ticket Office is currently located in the lobby of Fogelman Arena, and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com. The Zephyr Field Ticket Office is located on the third base side of the stadium, and gates open two hours prior to first pitch.