April 15, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Golden Knights' southpaw Mitch Houch fanned nine in a 7.2-inning start and the visitors from Orlando hammered four homer runs, including three in a six-run sixth, as the Tulane University baseball team dropped a 9-2 decision to Conference USA foe UCF Saturday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
Tulane led 2-1 after five innings, but UCF first baseman Dave Lambert hit a leadoff homer in the sixth to tie the game, and the duo of shortstop Eric Kallstrom and designated hitter Matt Horwath combined for two bombs and seven RBI off the Green Wave bullpen to even the series at one game each.
"We didn't swing it as well as we needed to, and we didn't pitch out of the bullpen as well as we needed to," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "We just got some balls up and they put good swings on them. You've got to give them credit there."
With the loss, Tulane falls to 22-15 on the year and 4-7 in C-USA action. UCF, meanwhile, improves to 21-17 overall and 4-4 in league play. The two teams will play the rubber match of the series on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Tulane will send senior right-hander Billy Mohl (4-0, 3.86 ERA) to the hill where he will match up with Golden Knights' lefty Mitch Herold (1-3, 5.04).
The Golden Knights took advantage of a strong wind blowing straight out as their four home runs accounted for eight of the nine runs scored. Houch (3-1), meanwhile, held the Green Wave to just two fly balls during his time on the hill, and Jeremy Thorne pitched the final inning and a third to close out the ballgame. The UCF defense lended a hand as well, turning three double plays and committing just one error.
Tulane starter Brandon Gomes (4-5) struck out a season-best nine batters, but UCF fouled off several tough pitches to get his pitch count up. After allowing just one run over the first five frames, Gomes gave up a leadoff homer to Lambert in the sixth before hitting right fielder Chad Hartman and walking third baseman Kiko Vazquez with nobody out.
Following a strikeout for the second out of the stanza, centerfielder Dave DiNatale singled to shallow center and Horwath made it a 7-2 contest with a homer to left.
Freshman right-hander Nathan Newman pitched Tulane out of the inning, but with two out and a runner at first, Kallstrom put the exclamation point on the day with his second homer in as many innings to account for the final score.
Tulane took a 1-0 lead in the first when sophomore second baseman Brad Emaus walked, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on an RBI-single by redshirt-freshman right fielder Warren McFadden. The Golden Knights tied the score in the third when DiNatale scored on a two-out RBI single by Bono, but the Green Wave answered in the fifth when sophomore shortstop Cat Everett hit a leadoff single, advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Ty Wallace, and scored on an RBI-single by senior left fielder Matt Riser.
Riser's single was one of just five hits by the Green Wave on the day, while UCF pounded out 11. Kallstrom went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBI, while Bono and Dinatale had two hits each.
The story of the day, however, was the left arm of Houck. After giving up a pair of runs on three hits over the first five innings, Houck allowed just one hit the rest of his outing and was able to pitch around six walks.
Gomes, who left the game with one out in the fifth and the score knotted at 2-all, was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on five hits and three walks through five and a third innings. Walker went just a third of an inning, giving up three runs on three hits - including two home runs - and Newman allowed two runs on three hits in an inning of work. Redshirt-freshman right hander Jonathan Garret was perfect over the final 2.1 frames, but by that time, the damage was already done.
Following Sunday's series finale, the Green Wave return to action on Tuesday, April 18, when they take on LSU at 7 p.m. at Zephyr Field. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. The Ticket Office has recently returned to its usual location on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or www.TicketMaster.com.