April 14, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Sophomore right-hander Sean Morgan tied his career high with 11 strikeouts, and senior left fielder Matt Riser broke open a 1-0 ballgame with a grand slam in the eighth, as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Conference USA foe UCF, 5-1, Friday evening at Zephyr Field.
Tulane clung to a 1-0 lead heading into the eighth inning, but reliever Derek Abriola pitched the Golden Knight's into a jam by loading the bases on a walk and a two hit batsmen with only one out. Following a strikeout, Abriola was lifted in favor of southpaw Brian Brooks to set up a lefty-lefty matchup vs. Riser. Brooks' first pitch sailed behind Riser, but the next the offering landed well over the wall in right to put the game away.
With the win, Tulane improves to 22-14 on the year and 4-6 in C-USA action. The win also marked the first Friday win for the Green Wave since March 17 when Tulane defeated South Alabama, 6-3. UCF, meanwhile, falls to 20-17 overall and 3-4 in league action.
"Morgan (had) a dominant performance," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "It was as simple as that, and we needed it. Their guy (Tim Bascum) is so good that if Sean doesn't dominate like he did, it would have been tough for us. Riser's blow was big for us. I was just looking for one (run)."
Morgan matched up with UCF ace Tim Bascum, who entered Friday's game with a 1.22 ERA, a .163 opponent batting average and 74 strikeouts, which ranked third in C-USA. Bascum (5-3) pitched well, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks while striking out six in a 5.0-inning start. Morgan, however, was even better as the sophomore from Sugar Land, Texas, went 8.0 shutout frames for the Green Wave, scattering five hits and not issuing a walk to improve to 4-3.
"That was great college pitching tonight on both sides," Jones said. "Sean was just dominant, and he had to be."
Tulane had chances to jump out to an early lead, but stranded three runners in scoring position over the first two innings, and had another cut down trying to steal second in the third. In the fifth, however, junior first baseman Mark Hamilton and McFadden opened the frame with back-to-back singles, and following a sacrifice bunt by Emaus, rookie third baseman Seth Henry ripped an RBI-single to right to give the Green Wave a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Morgan made sure the score remained that way, and got some help from his defense. He fanned 10 over the first five innings, and pitched his way out of three runner-in-scoring-position-and-only-one-out situations. Morgan retired the side in order in the sixth, and with runners at first and second with two outs, sophomore shortstop Cat Everett made an over the shoulder grab in a ball that appeared headed for no-man's land in shallow center to keep the goose egg on the board.
Abriola pitched his way out of a slight jam in the seventh to strand runners on the corners, but plunked McFadden to open the eighth, walked Emaus in the ensuing plate appearance, and drilled reserve designated hitter Tim Guidry with one away to load the bases and set up Riser's long ball.
The Golden Knights did not go away, though, as catcher Ryan Bono and first baseman Kiko Vazquez singled and walked, respectively, to open the ninth, and Bono scored on a two-out error to avoid the shutout and account for the final score.
Tulane and UCF continue the series on Saturday at 2 p.m., and close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. The ticket office at Zephyr Field opens two hours before each home game, and is located on the third base side of the stadium. For future ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or www.TicketMaster.com.