April 25, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Junior designated hitter Andrew Rodgers and junior centerfielder Anthony Scelfo each hit a three-run homer, and junior right-hander Shooter Hunt tied a season high with 12 strikeouts in a 7.0-inning start as the Tulane University baseball team opened its Conference USA series at Memphis with a 17-4 win Friday evening at Nat Buring Stadium.
Tulane took advantage of a pair of errors and Rodgers' round tripper in the first inning to jump out to a 6-0 lead and scored nine runs over the final three stanzas. With the win, the Green Wave improve to 28-13-1 on the year and 7-5-1 in C-USA play. Memphis, meanwhile, falls to 16-26 overall and 4-9 in league action.
"I was impressed more with what we did late than what we did in the first inning," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "Even though we had a big hit there after the error, you can't count on that happening very often. It was a fluke thing where a good player just lost the ball. What I was really impressed with was the way we stretched the lead late, the way we played defense, the way we pitched out of the bullpen and the way Shooter pitched in a starting role."
Hunt (7-1) got off to a rocky start as he walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases with nobody out but came back to strike out the next three in a row to strand three Tigers on base. From there, he faced just three more than the minimum over the next five innings.
The Tigers posted four hits of Hunt in the seventh, including a two-out grand slam by left fielder Tyler Huelsing. The early lead and late surge, however, proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
"You're just trying to throw strikes in that situation," Hunt said. "You're attacking the zone. It's not a game wher ee you want to knit-pick around, especially when you're on the road, we want to get back to hotel and get rested up for the next day. But hey, a win is a win.
"It was definitely the hitters' day today. They carried us throughout the whole game. Putting up those runs early was huge for us. It was easy for me to go out there and settle down when you have an 8-run lead. In the first inning, I guess I kind of lost my concentration on the bench with there being such a long inning, but I was able to settle down. I was very happy that I was able to conserve my pitches through the middle half of the game."
Eight of the nine Tulane position players had at least one hit, including a 3-for-6 performance by Scelfo. Junior right fielder Drew Allain, junior first baseman Sam Honeck and sophomore shortstop Josh Prince each had a pair of hits as the Green Wave out-hit the Tigers, 14-6. Tulane also drew 10 walks on the night, five of which eventually came around to score.
Tulane got things going early as the Green Wave sandwiched a pair of singles around an error and got the first run of the night on the second error of the stanza by Memphis third baseman Brett Bowen. From there, junior left fielder Warren McFadden ripped a two-run single to left and Rodgers followed with a three-run bomb to stake the Wave to a 6-0 advantage.
Junior catcher Jared Dyer's two-run single in the second made it an 8-0 ballgame, but Memphis starter Scott McGegor bounced back to keep Tulane off the scoreboard over the next four innings.
In the seventh, however, the Green Wave jumped on Tigers reliever Andrew Haley as the lefty walked two, gave up Scelfo's three-run shot to left central, walked one more and hit another before Honeck hammered a two-run double off the wall in right to stretch the lead to 13-0. Scelfo tallied a two-run single in the eighth, reserve catcher Marc Robért posted an RBI-double in the ninth later scored on a wild pitch to account for the final score.
The lone blemish on the Tulane pitching staff on Friday came in the seventh when Memphis first baseman Trey Wiedman and catcher Chris Kirkland hit back-to-back singles to open the game and shortstop Chad Zurcher reached safely on a short chopper in front of the plate before Huelsing left the yard.
Tulane was nearly perfect out of the bullpen as freshman right-hander Nick Pepitone opened the eighth with a leadoff walk before striking out the next three batters, and junior righty Josh Zeid retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
McGregor (1-5) was saddled with the loss after giving up eight runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks while striking out six in 5.0 innings. Reliever Andrew Haley did not fare much better, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on five hits and seven walks while posting a strikeout over the final 4.0 stanzas.
Tulane and Memphis continue the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Following the three-game weekend at Memphis, Tulane's next home game is schedule for Tuesday, April 29, when the team plays host to Nicholls State at 6 p.m. at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. For ticket information to that ballgame, as well as future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane University Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE or log on to the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.