April 25, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Junior first baseman Mark Hamilton belted a pair of home runs and redshirt-freshman right fielder Warren McFadden went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBI as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Northwestern State, 8-3, Tuesday night at Zephyr Field.
The game took just two hours and 17 minutes to play with the players on the field, but the potential for rain forced the game time to be moved back to 7:15 p.m. and lightning caused a 40-minute delay in the first and another 37-minute delay in the second. For the Green Wave, however, it was worth the wait as Tulane won its sixth straight game to improve to 28-15 overall. Northwestern State, meanwhile, falls to 20-22.
"This was our only chance to play (NSU) and they made a long trip," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "Fortunately, the weather broke for us. If you look, we really played well defensively all year, and tonight, I thought the key to the game was our defense. We made all the routine plays, and made three or four plays that were really tough. We pitched well out of the bullpen and we had big nights from both McFadden and Hamilton."
The Demons out-hit the Green Wave, 10-6, but Hamilton and McFadden proved to be all the offense Tulane needed as the pair combined to drive in six and score three runs. The Green Wave played flawless defense for the fourth time in the last five games, including five assists by rookie third baseman Seth Henry.
Redshirt-freshman right-hander Stephen Porlier (6-3) went five solid frames for the Green Wave and allowed three runs on eight hits while posting a strikeout. Sophomore Trey Martin allowed just one hit and walk in the seventh and eighth innings, and junior closer Daniel Latham was nearly perfect over the final two frames.
Senior left fielder Matt Riser was the only other Tulane player to post a hit for the Green Wave on Tuesday, logging an RBI-single in the second. Tulane, however, took advantage of NSU starter Heath Hennigan's inability to throw strikes early on as he walked three in the first and plunked a pair in the second. Of the five free passes, four came around to score.
The Green Wave led 5-0 after two innings, but the Demons came alive in the fourth when third baseman Miles Durham roped a one-out double to the wall in center and catcher Michael Flower followed with a two-run homer to left to cut the lead to three.
One inning later, the Demons made it a two-run contest when second baseman Brandon Morgan sparked a two-out rally with a single and a stolen base before first baseman Bobby Barbier ripped an RBI-single up the middle to make it 5-3.
Hamilton gave the Green Wave some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth when he followed up a leadoff double by McFadden with a two-run shot to straight away centerfield.
After a scoreless sixth, Northwestern State threatened in the top of the seventh when centerfielder Marty DeWees hit a two-out single and second baseman Brandon Morgan followed with a walk walked. From there, Barbier hammered one to deep center, but Tulane centerfielder Nathan Southard tracked the ball and timed his leap perfectly to rob him of a potential three-run bomb to end the inning.
Hamilton made the missed opportunity hurt in the home half of the frame when he turned on a 1-1 offering from Demons' reliever Jimmy Heard to put the game away.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the way we swung the bat, but we got off to a rocky start with our freshman (Hennigan)," NSU head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Hamilton is a good hitter, and we left a couple of pitches up. I thought we played well, and this will help us get ready for a big weekend (against Nicholls State)."
Hennigan (2-2) was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs on two hits, three walks and two hit batsmen. Philip Ledet allowed two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, and the lone blemish on Heard's mark was Hamilton's solo homer in the seventh.
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, April 28, when they open a three-game Conference USA series at East Carolina at 6 p.m. (CDT). The two teams play again on Saturday at 5 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 11 a.m. Following the trip to Greenville, N.C., Tulane returns to Zephyr Field on Tuesday, May 2, when it takes on McNeese State at 6:30 p.m.
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.