April 16, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Junior first baseman Mark Hamilton and senior centerfielder Nathan Southard both hit home runs, and senior right-hander Billy Mohl overcame a rocky start to give the Green Wave a solid 7.0-inning start as the Tulane University baseball team clinched its Conference USA series vs. UCF with a 7-6 Easter win Sunday afternoon at Zephyr Field.
UCF out-hit the Green Wave 12-11, including five doubles and a home run, but combination of Mohl, sophomore right-hander Trey Martin and junior closer Daniel Latham were able to make big pitches when they needed to as Tulane improved to 23-15 on the year and 5-7 in C-USA action. UCF, meanwhile, fell to 21-18 overall and 4-6 in league play.
"To say this was a big win would be an understatement," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "This puts us back in the conference hunt. One of the impressive things today was Billy, Trey and Daniel all pitched well without having their best stuff. That was huge for us."
Hamilton's homer, a two-run shot in the fourth, tied the game at 3-all, and Southard's leadoff bomb in the sixth sparked a four-run rally to give Tulane a comfortable 7-3 lead. UCF, however, plated a run in the eighth off Martin, and scored two more in the top of the ninth off Latham.
The Golden Knights had the tying run at first base with nobody out, but Latham sandwiched a routine fly and strikeout around a highlight-reel play by sophomore second baseman Brad Emaus to close out the ballgame and tally his eighth save of the 2006 season.
The save was the 27th of Latham's career, which ties him for second all-time at Tulane with Brandon Belanger (1999-2000). He needs just one save to tie current saves leader Joey Charron, who had 28 from 2001-04.
Mohl, meanwhile, allowed single runs in the first three innings, but settled down to face just three more than the minimum over his final four innings. He allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out a pair to improve to 5-0.
The Golden Knights answered in the top of the third, though, when second baseman Matt Ray ripped a leadoff triple to right and scored on a groundout by centerfielder Dave DiNatale.
Mohl settled down from there, and the Green Wave bats came alive in the fourth when redshirt-freshman right fielder Warren McFadden singled to lead off the frame before Hamilton got a high fly ball into the jet stream that blew over the wall in dead center to tie the game up at 3-all.
Following a scoreless fifth, Southard hammered a leadoff homer to centerfield, and Hamilton followed with a single through the right side of the infield to chase UCF starter Mitch Herold from the game. Reliever Derek Abriola took his place, but designated hitter Tim Guidry and Henry hit back-to-back singles to load the bases before sophomore shortstop Cat Everett ripped an RBI-knock to the gap in right central to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
UCF closer Dominic Petracca came on to try and thwart the rally, but despite not giving up any hits, the Green Wave plated a pair of runs with him on the mound as Guidry scored on a double-play ball, and Henry touched the paystation on a wild pitch.
The Golden Knights refused to go away, though, as DiNatale opened the eighth with a leadoff double and scored two hitter later on an RBI-single by catcher Ryan Bono to cut the lead to three. One inning later, the first three men to step to the plate against Latham all recorded hits as third baseman Kiko Vazquez single, left fielder Ryan Williams doubled and shortstop Eric Kallstrom ripped a two-run single to right central to make it a one-run ballgame.
Following a flyball out, Dinatale appeared to keep the pressure on with a grounder up the middle, but Emaus laid out to get to the ball, and flipped to second from his back for the second out of the game. Latham got designated hitter Matt Horwath to strike out swinging, and the Tulane celebration was on.
"Emaus made a tremendous defensive play to save us (in the ninth), and we had some quality at-bats," Jones said. "To be down, go ahead and fight it off there at the end was really big for our club."
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.