April 9, 2004
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Cardinal shortstop Chris Cates went 3-for-5 with a double, but no hit was bigger than his two-RBI single to center in the top of the seventh as the Tulane University baseball team dropped a series-opening contest to Conference USA foe Louisville, 5-2, Friday evening at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave out-hit the Cardinals 12-10, but Cardinal starter Justin Valdes was able to hold Tulane to just a pair of runs while closer Brian Halford was able to keep the home team at bay over the final two innings to earn his fifth save of season. With the loss, Tulane falls to 23-9 overall and 7-3 in league play. Louisville, meanwhile, improves to 18-11 on the year and matches the Green Wave's conference record.
With the game knotted at 1-1 and runners at second and third with one away in the top of the seventh, Cates worked the count full to Green Wave starter Billy Mohl. Cates refused to give in, however, and made contact on a three-quarter swing on Mohl's next offering and lifted a hump-back liner to center to break the deadlock.
Louisville pushed the lead to three in the eighth when third baseman Ryan McKinnon launched a solo home run to left, but Tulane would answer in the home half of the frame as junior left fielder Matt Barket hit a leadoff double to the wall and junior catcher Greg Dini drove him home with an RBI-single to shallow center to make it 4-2.
From there, Louisville head coach Lelo Prado handed the ball Halford, who induced a fly-ball and a double play to get out of the inning, and gave up just a single to pinch hitter Scott Madden in the ninth to seal the Cardinal win.
The Cardinals got on the board early as Mohl loaded up the bases after giving up a pair of singles and a walk to open the game, and catcher Ron Braun lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score second baseman Nick Haley from third base to make it a 1-0 contest.
Following the home run by McKinnon in the seventh and the single runs by both teams in the eighth, Louisville was able to take advantage of a walk and a pair of Tulane errors in the top of the ninth to plate an insurance run to account for the final score.
Barket, Bormaster and Swackhamer each had two hits to lead the Green Wave offense. Mohl, meanwhile, was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out five in a 7.1-inning start. Louisville starter Justin Valdes earned his fourth win of the season by scattering 11 hits, issuing one walk and logging a pair of strikeouts in 7.0-innings of work.
Louisville and Tulane are scheduled to play again on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Saturday's game may become a doubleheader, however, as inclement weather is forecast for Sunday. Tulane game-day administrators will announce their plans at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.