April 7, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - Sophomore right fielder Warren McFadden went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored, but it was not enough as the Tulane University baseball team dropped a 5-3 decision to Conference USA foe Memphis Saturday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
With the score knotted at 1-1 after three, the Tigers plated three runs courtesy of three hits and a pair of walks in the fourth, and the combination of starting pitcher Scott McGregor and Matt Yokley made sure the lead held. With the win, Memphis (19-11, 5-3 C-USA) claimed its first series victory over Tulane (23-10, 5-3 C-USA) since 1996.
"I thought we had a lot of hard-hit balls but we didn't have a lot to show for it," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "We had some good at-bats and I thought we pitched well out of the bullpen.
"I thought the biggest thing was that we didn't match their energy level over the first four or five innings. We didn't match their energy level, and that was our biggest disappointment today besides the loss. Late, we didn't have any breaks, but at the same time, you win games different ways in different innings. Today, it was early for us when we lost."
Memphis out-hit Tulane, 11-9, but the Green Wave had several chances to tie the ballgame late. Trailing 5-2 after six and a half innings, Tulane had two on and two out courtesy of singles by sophomore designated hitter Aja Barto and sophomore centerfielder Nate Simon. From there, sophomore left fielder Anthony Scelfo crushed a 1-1 offering from McGregor deep to center, but Memphis centerfielder K.K. Chalmers made the catch against the wall to keep it a three-run game.
That would be as close as Yokley would allow Tulane to get as he retired the next two batters he faced to strand a pair on the basepath, and pitched his way around a one-out single in the ninth to pick up his fourth save of the year. McGregor (2-1), meanwhile, gave the Tigers 7.0 solid innings where he allowed a pair of runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one.
The Tigers got on the board first as designated hitter Joey Lieberman opened the second with a single, advanced the bases on a wild pitch and a single by shortstop Michael Murray, and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Josh Irvin. Tulane got the run back in the home half of the inning, though, as McFadden singled and stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore catcher Jared Dyer, and scored on a McGregor wild pitch.
Tulane starter Shooter Hunt pitched his way around a two-on, one-out jam in the third, but one inning later proved to be the difference in the ballgame. Memphis first baseman Adam Amar singled to open the frame, and moved to second on a Murray sacrifice bunt.
From there, Irvin and catcher Chris Kirkland walked to load the bases before Chalmers hit an infield single to third and left fielder Will Peterson blooped a single to shallow right to make it a 3-0 ballgame. Hunt bounced back to strike out Bill Moss but Lieberman capped the four-run frame with a single to short.
The score remained 4-1 until the seventh when Lieberman hammered a leadoff homer to left. Tulane cut the lead back to three in the sixth when Barto hit a leadoff double and scored on a single to right by sophomore first baseman Jonny Weiss.
Hunt (6-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out five in 4.0 innings of work. Freshman southpaw Aaron Loup allowed just the homer in the seventh, and rookie right-hander Preston Claiborne tossed a pair of scoreless frames to close it out.
Tulane and Memphis close out the weekend on Sunday with a nationally televised game on College Sports Television (DirecTV Channel 610, DISH Network Channel 152) with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. For ticket information for this weekend's games, as well as future Green Wave athletic events, 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.