March 17, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - Sophomore right-hander Shooter Hunt struck out four in a 7.0-inning start and senior closer Daniel Latham picked up his sixth save of the season with a scoreless ninth as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Siena, 2-0, in a two-hour and five-minute ballgame Saturday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
The Green Wave (15-6) out-hit the Saints (0-14), 8-4, including two-hit performances by sophomore left fielder Aja Barto, junior shortstop Cat Everett and senior first baseman Tim Guidry. The shutout was the third in a row for Tulane, marking the first time the Green Wave kept an opponent off the board in three straight games since shutting out Utah in a weekend series from Feb. 27-29, 2004.
"We won today because we got great pitching and we played real well defensively," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "That's the good news. I don't think there is any question that offensively, we're struggling. At the end of the day, we've got to get better there. Our guys want to and they work hard at it. I know we can because we have a lot of guys who have had success in the past who just aren't doing as well right now. But you know they are capable because it has happened in the past.
Hunt (4-2) allowed just four singles and walked a pair to pick up his fourth win of the season. He retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing a walk and a single with two out in the third. Hunt then allowed just three base runners the rest of his time on the mound, and never allowed a runner to get pas second base.
From there, Hunt gave way to rookie right-hander Preston Claiborne, who responded by retiring the side in order in the eight. Latham came on to start the ninth inning, and got a pair of ground-outs and a strikeout looking to pick up the save.
"Shooter didn't have as dominant of stuff as he had last week, but he had really good command all day," Jones said. "He got on a lot of guys early in the count. I just felt that he was in command from the outset. I thought Preston Claiborne gave us a dominant eighth - a real quick eighth - and then Daniel was not with his best stuff, but was typical Daniel to get the save."
A big reason for the pitchers' success was the play of the Tulane defense as the Green Wave were perfect in 43 chances. The four infielders combined for 12 assists, including a career-best seven by junior second baseman Brad Emaus.
"I didn't really pitch all that well early, but Billy (Mohl) and Coach Sutter saw a couple of things in my mechanics that I had to fix during the game," Hunt said. "My fastball was the biggest thing for me today. I think I threw about 90 percent fastballs. When you have confidence in your fielders, it's great to pitch and just let (the opponent) put the ball in play."
While the Tulane defense got the job done, it was a Siena miscue that led to the games first run. Following a pair of scoreless stanzas to start the game, it appeared as if the third would go the same as Saints' starter Craig Marcellus retired the first two batters of the third inning and got sophomore third baseman Seth Henry to hit a grounder to third.
Jake Willis could not handle the ball cleanly at the hot corner, and with an extended inning, Barto hit a single to move Henry to second before Everett brought him home with an RBI-base hit through the left side of the infield. While Henry's run in the third was the only one Hunt and his relievers would need, the Green Wave added a little insurance in the seventh when Henry sparked a two-out rally with a walk, stolen second base and scored on an RBI-single off the bat of Barto to account for the final score.
Marcellus was tagged with the loss for Siena after allowing both runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk. Trevor Reid tossed the eighth for the Saints, giving up just a single to Emaus.
"I think our kid did a great job," Siena head coach Tony Rossi said on Marcellus. "He kept them off balance and kept us in the ballgame, but like everything else, you've got to get base hits and you've got to get them in scoring position. We only had I think three opportunities and most of them came with two outs, which didn't help matters."
Tulane and Siena close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. For ticket information to Sunday's series finale, 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.